Sexist, racist ad pulled down in Mozambique

Date: September 16, 2011
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Name of advert: Laurentia Preta

Name of advertising agency: Ogilvy

Date: September 2011

Country: Mozambique

Theme: Racism, sexuality

Skill: Portrayal

Genre: Advertisement

GEM classification: Blatant stereotype


The latest advertisement for the popular dark beer Laurentina Preta shows a headless and legless black woman, generous hips and bosom, tiny waist, clad in tight bodysuit with the Laurentina logo right on her pubis. A popular myth in Mozambique is that dark beer enhances sexual potency, hence the brand’s association with sex in its ads. This one appeared in the first week of September on billboards and as full page ads in daily newspapers. The umbrella of women’s group Foro Mulher and the League for Human Rights jointly called a press conference to denounce the ad. Two days later, Cervejas de Mocambique announced its withdrawal, “given that the ad is creating a polemic in the midst of society.”

Visual image
The main image in the advertisement is the outline of a woman wearing nothing but an enlarged Laurentina Preta label in the form of a tight dress. The woman’s head is cut out of the frame so that the focus is on her curvaceous body.

Portraying a headless woman and equating her with a sexy bottle means, in the words of Graca Samo, head NGO Foro Mulher, that she is a sexual object without identity or brains.

The advert also reads: Esta preta foi de boa para melhor, agora com uma garrafa mais sexy. Loosely translated, this means: “This black one went from good to better, now with a sexier bottle,” which is in reference to the new bottle design unveiled this week.This translation does not do justice to the deeper meaning. Preta means dark beer, but it is also the pejorative term for a black woman used during colonial times (preto for a black man).

“The company Cervejas de Mozambique, which proudly boasts the Made in Mozambique seal and should be our national pride, has become our national embarrassment, even international, considering the Pan African Games are taking place in Maputo right now,” said the press release by the Foro Mulher and League for Human Rights.

“Let this be a lesson to other companies that abuse the image of women in their ads,” said Graca Samo.

Training exercises:
– Do you think men would interpret this advertisement differently to women? Discuss.
– How do you think Cervejas de Mozambique could have advertised Laurentina in a more gender sensitive way?

Other training resources:
– Press Release by Foro Mulher and the League for Human Rights (see attachment below)
– Publication: Gender and Advertising in Southern Africa by Colleen Lowe Morna and Sikhonzile Ndlovu
– Research: Advertising Association takes action against sexist ads by R. R. Ramnauth
– Case study: War on blatant forms of gender stereotypes far from being won



Download : 13550_laurentina_preta_ad.jpg
Download : 13551_laurentina_preta.doc

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