Culture Jam

Original Ad

I have chosen to jam this 2012 Belvedere vodka ad for its outrageous message of rape promotion. The ad features an excited looking young man, who is physically restraining a young woman. The ad appears to be targeting young men, as the ad seems to be presenting the relatable problem of an uncooperative women. The man in the ad is Caucasian and college-aged, and appears to be having a great time. The woman looks petrified and appears to be struggling as she tries to free herself of his arms. The slogan on the ad is “unlike some people, Belvedere always goes down smoothly”. This is suggesting that while Belvedere vodka is smooth, women will fight against sexual advances.

There is no actual picture of vodka in the ad, as it seems that the company chose to focus on the stereotype of alcohol being correlated to sex.  The phrase “unlike some people” is made to stand out by being the only part of the ad in colour. The phrase itself is typically used to put down the “people” in question, by making them out to be a minority in an opinion. In this case, it inherently implies that the women who resist, who do not go down “smoothly” are an uncool minority. The problem of the ad is its promotion of rape, and specifically rape in the context of alcohol. The phrase “goes down” has a sexual connotation, but also implies simply knocking out a woman, or being able to physically hold her down. The ad actually barely informs viewers of what Belvedere is, the only mention being “vodka” in very small font in the bottom right corner of the ad. Personally, I was unaware of the brand Belvedere until I did further research into this ad, so I can imagine many viewers of the ad being in similar position of not understanding what the picture is advertising.

Jammed Ad

For my culture jammed version of the ad, I decided to change the text so there is no potential for the audience not to notice the dangerous message. In doing this, I am trying to highlight the absurdity of the original ad, which was promoting rape without specifically using the term rape. I changed the message of the ad to “Unlike most people, Belvedere isn’t afraid to promote rape”. There is underlying message in my jammed ad, that unlike Belvedere, most companies actively seek to create ads that will not offend. Rape is a universally sensitive topic, if not one that is universally agreed upon as being wrong. It is astounding to me that Belvedere would make such a clearly offensive and inappropriate ad that does not really seem to promote their own product. They are clearly catering to an audience of men who feel empowered to take advantage of women in this way, and want acceptance from others to certify the righteousness of their actions.

The philosophy behind my jammed version is to show the injurious social message the original ad is promoting by making the language of the ad more serious My alteration reveals Belvedere’s messaging: sexual assault is ok, and associated with drinking alcohol. I aspired to invoke a shock in viewers by making clear the message of the ad. The unedited ad restrains from using the word “rape,” but I chose to state the obvious message by including that language. It seems that Belvedere was trying to skirt around the negative connotation of rape or sexual assault by using implicative language, but my culture jammed version states the obvious goal of the ad: to promote non-consensual sexual behaviour in a positive manner. My jammed ad twists the original by bringing a negative tone to such behaviour.