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June 22, 2009

Bacardi responds to “Get an Ugly Girlfriend” complaints

Posted in: Personal

Bacardi has issued this response to the hordes of complaints about its “Get an Ugly Girlfriend” Bacardi Breezers campaign:

Thank you for taking the time to post your story on Bacardi Breezer.

The campaign you are referring to ran in 2008 for two months in Israel. Even though Bacardi Breezer is not sold or distributed in the United States, we immediately notified the appropriate Bacardi affiliate and had this website shut down.

Bacardi proudly celebrates diversity and we do not endorse the views of this site. We sincerely apologize to anyone who was offended by this site and thank you for bringing it to our attention.

That the campaign ran at all is still disturbing, but I’m glad Bacardi has responded promptly and acted appropriately and I hope this causes the company to take consumers’ reactions into consideration when creating future advertising campaigns.  Several feminist sites posted about this campaign and many readers here and elsewhere wrote in to Bacardi to complain.  This just shows yet again what an impact a contingency of vocal minorities can have when they act in concert with one another.  Thanks to everyone who wrote letters of complaints and/or spread the news of this revolting campaign.

Update: Bacardi added an additional explanatory comment in which the company says it did not sponsor nor develop the campaign.  Read it after the jump.

Update to the Update: Someone claiming to be from McCann Digital posted a comment saying that Bacardi is lying and that they specifically requested this campaign and that documents exist to prove it.  Read that response here.  I emailed Bacardi asking for clarification and have yet to receive a response back.

We wish to thank all of you who have written us about a past promotional campaign for Bacardi Breezer.

As a Company and as individuals we are also angered and dismayed that such a campaign was ever created and we have taken immediate action to stop it as it violated our stringent global marketing principles that we firmly support.

By way of explanation, but by no means an excuse, Bacardi never sponsored nor developed this promotion. But we understand it is our brand and our reputation and you are our consumers. We are also embarrassed that we didn’t catch this breach sooner. We have been urgently looking into this matter to make sure this type of activity is never repeated.

What we do know is that a third-party developed and activated this brief campaign in one small market more than a year ago without our clearance. When we discovered this promotion, we instructed our distributor to shut it down as it did not comply with our global marketing standards. We are now urgently looking into the reasons why this program was recently reposted on the internet. In markets where Bacardi does not have a corporate presence, we are represented by third parties; in this case a distributor and its advertising agency, but they must adhere to our stringent marketing principles, which clearly this campaign did not.

When Bacardi found out about this recent reposting, we immediately notified the agency and distributor to shutdown the website.

Bacardi proudly celebrates diversity and we do not endorse the views of this site or the campaign, as it is offensive and completely inappropriate. We sincerely apologize to anyone who was offended by this campaign and thank you, our consumers for bringing it to our attention.

Sincerely,

Bacardi Limited


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