Bacardi responds to “Get an Ugly Girlfriend” complaints

22nd June 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.


Bacardi Limited

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This entry was posted on Monday, June 22nd, 2009 at 9:58 am and is filed under Personal. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

There are currently 16 responses to “Bacardi responds to “Get an Ugly Girlfriend” complaints”

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  1. 1 On June 22nd, 2009, Rachel said:

    I have just checked my hotmail and got the same response from them. That bit about diversity gave me a morsel of amusement. And that bit about how they didn’t do it…it was someone else! That was another morsel of amusement. I’m glad they did take the site down, though.

  2. 2 On June 22nd, 2009, Kris said:

    “Bacardi proudly celebrates diversity and we do not endorse the views of this site.”

    I don’t understand what Bacardi’s response means. It doesn’t endorse the views of the site that posted the ad? Is the company saying the ad was not sanctioned or not produced by the company?

  3. 3 On June 22nd, 2009, Living400lbs said:

    I think Bacardi may be learning that nothing is ever “over” once it’s on the net.

  4. 4 On June 22nd, 2009, Melissa said:

    Yeah that’s the thing, their campaign may be over but that website is still lingering around, and so is the message that they sent out!
    They’d be smart to remove that website that hosted the ad campaign!!

  5. 5 On June 22nd, 2009, Nathreee said:

    They never made a problem out of it back then…

  6. 6 On June 23rd, 2009, Melissa said:


    That’s funny because my grandma has played that song many of times when I was little and I always hated it!
    But it was weird no one really complained or thought it was blatantly sexist.

  7. 7 On June 23rd, 2009, Nathreee said:

    I saw that song being performed once by Kid Creole and the Coconuts. They sent the Coconuts away because they would only break mens hearts and then they invited loads of girls from the audience to dance with them. After a while, Kid Creole said: “I’m sorry ladies, you too are far too beautiful, you are going to have to go.”
    I thought there was nothing sexist about that.

    It’s a silly song. It’s a silly commercial. It’s not very funny and we don’t particularly like it. But it’s not really worth getting worked up over either. There are worse cases of sexism in the world.

  8. 8 On June 23rd, 2009, Jackie said:

    Well in fairness to them, they did take the ad down. Really the 3rd party distributor should be held accountable. It’s like say a Gamestop in IL, marketed a video game like Lara Croft, with a image of her that’s revealing. Now the video game company, wouldn’t be responsible for that if they didn’t approve of it, so if people got mad it would be at that Gamestop not um, well honestly, I don’t know who makes Lara Croft lol. Is it Sony?

    Bacardi now understands they really need to emphasize no to their third party promoters. So, yeah the ad was terrible, but beating Bacardi up about it is like beating a dead horse. They acknowledged they made a mistake, and frankly, it’s very rare for a company to do that.

  9. 9 On June 23rd, 2009, Karen said:

    If it ran in Israel, why is it in English?

  10. 10 On June 23rd, 2009, rachel said:

    Karen, I wondered the same thing myself…

  11. 11 On June 23rd, 2009, J. Morell said:

    DO NOT accept Bacardi’s excuse for an apology. First of all, Bacardi Breezers are WIDELY available all over the United States, so why they suggested Breezers are not sold or distributed in the U.S. is beyond me.

    Second, yes, a third-party company did develop the campaign. I work that company. Barcadi contacted us as they have done in the past, told us what their suggestion for an advertising campaign was, and ask us to develop a prototype. We actually strongly advised them NOT to use the idea about the “ugly girlfriends,” but they insisted. They ABSOLUTELY cleared the campaign before it was launched, and we have the e-mails, correspondence, and the signed contract to prove it. Why they are trying to pin the blame on us instead of accepting responsibility for their actions is beyond me.

  12. 12 On June 23rd, 2009, Rachel said:

    That’s interesting, J. Morell. Will your group be making that proof public?

  13. 13 On June 24th, 2009, Melissa said:

    “But it’s not really worth getting worked up over either. There are worse cases of sexism in the world”


    I’m not worked up about it at all I just always hated that song as a child!

  14. 14 On June 24th, 2009, Jackie said:

    J. Morell, I believe you. It makes sense that Bacardi, after being attacked for a brainless advertising idea, would also react brainlessly about it and point the finger to the guy (company) next to them and say, “But they did it!”

  15. 15 On June 26th, 2009, Blog Snog (06-26-09) | Em & Lo: Sex. Love. And Everything in Between. said:

    [...] uses misogyny to sell alcohol to women and then apoloogizes…kinda. We’re not buying it (the rum or the [...]

  16. 16 On September 16th, 2009, 100% sexist » said:

    [...] people complained about the Bacardi ads that the company promptly responded — albeit with a pathetic and dubious attempt to shift the blame — but the ads were retracted. Let Coopers know just how you feel about [...]

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