Russian commercial faces ban
Highly praised ad for Tinkoff beer considered too sexy
June 20, 2003 - A commercial for Russia's only super-premium beer has been called too sexy for television, and the anti-Monopoly Minstry says it should be pulled.
In the advertisment for Tinkoff beer, 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 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. "The chances that the ad will be prohibited by the commission are very high," Bulgakova said.
The ad, called "The Yacht," can be seen 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.
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."
"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, Tinkoff spokeswoman Oksana Grigoriova said. "The campaign has been more successful than we could have expected," she said, adding that demand for the beer is 40% and the brewery has a three-month backlog of orders. Brewed near St. Petersburg, Tinkoff is reportedly the favorite drink of President Vladimir Putin.
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