[notice]Family Policy Institute(FPI) threatens national boycott campaign unless Beechies withdraws offensive ads[/notice]
The campaign, which is aimed at South African youth, first came to the attention of Gateway News when Africa Christian Action (ACA) sent us a media statement yesterday (Wednesday, April 6) about a Beechies television advertisement featuring young men at a strip joint, which it said glamourised drunken debauchery and the exploitation of women.
The TV ad, broadcast between 8pm and 9.30pm on SABC channels and ETV depicts a group of young men visiting a strip joint during a night of debauchery, says the statement. “One of the strippers turns out to be the girlfriend of the male narrating the story. The punchline of the advert says ‘some things are too good not to share’
“Are Beechies saying that women should be shared like a story, or worse, like a piece of gum? Not only is this advert glamorising drunken debauchery, but it is condoning an industry that promotes sexual immorality and the objectification and exploitation of women. Most strip joints are fronts for brothels and many enslave women and are involved in trafficking,” says ACA.
Meanwhile Errol Naidoo, Director of the FPI, has written a letter to Richard Papo, Marketing Manager of Natela Importers, who distribute Beechies in South Africa. In the letter Naidoo requests the company to “immediately cancel its harmful and derogatory advertising campaign and remove all images from the electronic and print media that promotes the sexual degradation of women, drunkenness, debauchery and casual sex”.
“Should you fail to respond to my legitimate concerns within five days I will have no option but to launch a nationwide boycott of all Beechies products. I can assure you this action if necessary will have long term negative consequences for your company and the Beechies brand,” the letter says.
Naidoo says: “South Africa has some of the world’s highest statistics of sexual abuse of women and children including spiraling rates of drunkenness amongst our youth. The Beechies ad campaign adds fuel to the fire by glamourizing behaviour that is currently decimating South African society.” He points out that the FPI works to inform, educate and equip the greater Christian community in South Africa about matters of public policy and media issues that concern family values.
Gateway News has asked Natela Importers to comment on the ACA and FPI complaints. Papo said today that their advertising agency, Hello World, was drafting a response.
According to the Beechies website the company invites visitors to submit their favourite or most embarrassing personal stories — “stories which are too good not to share” — with the prospect that their stories might become Beechies’ next print, billboard or TV ad or earn big competition prizes including a car. The current “top ten” stories and latest stories are featured on the website. Casual sex and drunkenness are a recurring theme in the stories. The top ten stories are illustrated with pictures of scantily clad people and include such headlines as “He thought I was my sister, so we had phone sex”, “I got picked up by a guy in a bar last night and woke up with two in my bed” and “I woke up not sure whose dog I had been making out with”.
Describing Beechies new “Too Good Not To Share” campaign before it was released to MTV in November, prior to its mainstream release this year, Papo said: “Capturing the interest of the brand in the minds of our desired market is not going to take what’s expected, but rather what’s right. The youth are after something fresh and innovative to captivate them and we are confident that this campaign will do just that.”
A Beechies Facebook page, Twitter profile and mobi site have also been developed to support the “Too Good Not To Share” campaign. There is also a second TV ad which features a young man skinny dipping with his girlfriend then making a nude getaway on his scooter when her parents unexpectedly arrive home.