Belvedere Vodka rape ad—frat-boy humor leaves a sour taste.

Sometimes social media campaigns can get out of hand. Really out of hand. Belvedere Vodka, which has over 10,000 Twitter followers and nearly one million Facebook fans may have seriously alienated a large swath of their community by posting an ad of seriously questionable taste.

The ad shows terrified woman being grabbed by a smiling man with the headline “Unlike some people, Belvedere always goes down smoothly.” The sexual innuendo was clear to Belvedere fans, and has sparked outrage.

The ad was taken down reportedly within an hour of posting, and Belvedere issues an apology. But like a cheating spouse, Belvedere fans may forgive, but they will not forget.

Forbes sums up the crime: “This frat-boy humor was a terrible judgment call by someone in Belvedere’s marking department given the  general unfunniness of rape jokes compounded by the sensitivity around the role alcohol plays in sexual assault.”

Here’s the company’s apology: 

I am Jason Lundy, SVP of Global Marketing for Belvedere.

Unfortunately a Facebook & Twitter posting was made today that has offended many of our fans and followers — and indeed the people who work here at Belvedere. The post is absolutely inconsistent with our values and beliefs and in addition to removing the offensive post we are committed to making sure that something like this doesn’t happen again.  As an expression of our deep disappointment and regret, we are making a charitable donation to a women’s support cause. We deeply apologize to our fans & followers.

You be the judge if their judgment call will hurt them in the long-term. Vodka brands exist and are successes or failures based on branding and brand perception. This could not have helped Belvedere in that department.

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