Belvedere Vodka is getting some much deserved backlash on social media after they posted an ad on their Facebook and Twitter pages Friday that seems to make light of sexual assault. The ad, which shows a guy wrestling a horrified looking girl, reads "Unlike some people, Belvedere always goes down smooth." ("Go down," just to be painfully clear, is a pretty obvious double-entendre for oral sex.) Belvedere seems to be learning two important lessons here. The first, and most obvious, is not to make rape jokes in your advertising. (That's a lesson marketers should have learned long ago, and for much more subtle references to violence against women.) Their attempt at an apology, though, brings us to the second lesson learned: how not to do crisis management. After some immediate negative responses to the ad on social media, Belvedere removed it, writing:
We apologize to any of our fans who were offended by our recent tweet. We continue to be an advocate of safe and responsible drinking.
People seemed to be looking for a bit more than "sorry you got offended." Forbes' Kashmir Hill calls that "half-hearted." The Atlantic's Megan McArdle goes further, tweeting, "Fascinated by Belvedere Vodka's non-apology apology, which seems to assume that most of their customers think rape is awesome." So then, the apology hasn't done much to lessen the anger. We'd venture a guess that Belvedere's vodka sales won't see much of a spike on this fine Friday night. Hard to believe anyone thought that ad would help.