Skip to comments.Tinkoff Beer Ad Ruled Too Hot for Television
Posted on 06/19/2003 6:25:50 AM PDT by RussianConservative
A sexy television ad for Tinkoff beer has excited too many people and should be pulled from the airwaves, the Anti-Monopoly Ministry said Wednesday.
In an award-winning 30-second spot, a man in boxer shorts dreams he is lying on the deck of a yacht with his arms around two naked women -- one black, one white -- and one of the black woman's nipples can be seen briefly.
"Due to the many letters received from people complaining about the nonethical character of this advertisement, the ministry on Tuesday instructed TV stations to avoid airing it," said Larisa Bulgakova, spokeswoman of the Anti-Monopoly Ministry, which oversees the advertising market.
What the ministry issued is technically called an "instruction" and is not legally binding. A special commission will decide next week whether to accept the ministry's recommendation and officially ban the ad.
If the commission upholds the recommendation, Tinkoff, Russia's only super-premium beer and reportedly the favorite tipple of President Vladimir Putin, will have the distinction of being the first company to ever have a commercial pulled off air for "moral" reasons.
"The chances that the ad will be prohibited by the commission are very high," Bulgakova said. She blamed "complicated bureaucracy" at the ministry for taking so long to issue the warning.
The ad, called "The Yacht" and punchlined with the phrase "Tinkoff -- he [or it] is one of a kind," can be viewed online at www.tinkoff.ru and has been running on television for about six weeks. It was recognized as the best TV ad of the month earlier this month by the largest advertisers in Russia, including British-American Tobacco, Coca-Cola, LG Electronics, Alfa Bank, Megafon and IKEA. The jingle for the ad was penned by Ilya Lagutenko, the lead singer of well-known rock group Mumii Troll.
In the ad, a businessman, Tinkoff's target customer, dreams in black and white "because he is so unique. ... While everyone drinks beer, he drinks Tinkoff because he is so unique," the narrator says in the ad.
Tinkoff and ad agencies alike said they were surprised by the ministry's move.
"It is a very cool, uplifting, brilliant and professionally made ad," said Vladimir Yevstafyev, president of the Russian Association of Advertising Agencies.
"There are no violations in it. A man, who is obviously over 35 years old, is surrounded by two beautiful women. There is no sex. It is all very chaste," he said. "What is wrong with a naked body? Let's not be hypocritical. All kids are studying Greek sculptures in school, and none of those sculptures are wearing bras."
"This is the Anti-Monopoly Ministry's job, but I don't understand it. Look at ads for shower gel," said Tinkoff spokeswoman Oksana Grigorova.
"The situation is quite amusing," she added, pointing out that the company originally planned run the spot only for a month and a half and pulled it Monday.
Now the commercial can only be viewed on Fashion-TV, which is not Russian and, therefore, not regulated by the Anti-Monopoly Ministry.
"The Yacht" was the first stage of a new campaign, and not a single bottle of beer was shown. The sequel, advertising the beer itself, started this week, Grigoriova said.
"The campaign has been more successful than we could have expected," she said, adding that demand for the specialty drink is up 40 percent this year and the company, which brews the beer in Pushkin, near St. Petersburg, has a three-month backlog of orders.
Yevstafyev said it was "very strange" that the ministry waited until the ad had been showing for more than a month before starting proceedings to ban it.
From a marketing point of view, banning the ad would be "a great present for Tinkoff's chief competitors" -- namely foreign pilsners like Miller, Corona and Sol, he said.
The "old" Russia never died.
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