42 BELOW VODKA IN HOT WATER AFTER RUSSIAN BRIDE PROMOTION
New Zealand vodka brand 42 Below has landed itself in hot water after offering the opportunity to go to Russia for a wife as a prize in a competition.
The promotion will offer a winner the prize of a trip to Moscow to join a "find-a-bride" tour, praising Russian women because "they don't care if you watch cricket on Valentine's Day, hell they don't even care if you're short and fat".
The viral ad for the competition, created by Consortium, Auckland, shows an image of a blonde woman scrubbing a floor.
The tours are offered by websites such as
loveme.com, where men can pay several thousand US dollars for a tour of a city such as Kiev or Odessa, in order to meet single women -- and potentially a wife.
Although 42 Below has defended the campaign as "a bit of fun", it has been criticised in the New Zealand press. One website reports that only 17 Russian women were granted visas to New Zealand in the past financial year using its partnership visa policy.
Nonetheless, Russian women in New Zealand have complained about the campaign, saying that the image portrayed in the campaign was wrong. Several have highlighted the fact that the women who do emigrate to New Zealand are educated professionals.
The company appears to have an equal opportunity policy when it comes to offence. It has been criticised in the past for using stereotypical images of gays in its advertising, and its website pokes fun at Ukrainians, Italians and, in particular, the French.
The British are singled out for a special appraisal in an online ad, which describes the country as the "shining ginger-headed jewel of the Atlantic" and Prince Philip as the "grandfather Kiwis never had because all ours were shot dead at Gallipoli".