Sunday, January 24, 2021

Stoli Ad: Forbidden Fruit No Longer….WTF?

December 18, 2009 by  
Filed under Body Image

I am a huge Jezebel fan, so I was surprised to see this Stoli Vodka ad plastered all over their home page;

Very young girl. Blindfolded.

“Forbidden Fruit No Longer” is the tag line. The fruit is an apple.

What is this ad exactly saying, that the masked child is no longer a forbidden fruit? Or is this a woman that appears to be twelve?

Please, tell me I am reading this wrong.


PS Oh, and the “S” from Stoli in the bottom image appears to be like a rope wrapped around her. C’mon!


20 Responses to “Stoli Ad: Forbidden Fruit No Longer….WTF?”
  1. Mish says:

    and we wondered why child pornography, botox and anorexia are a problem.

  2. CandiceBP says:

    Wow, that is remarkably disturbing.

  3. Asdf says:

    I disagree. This ad is suggesting that the model in the picture is of Asian descent. Notice that her hair is black and her skin is fair, but with a yellow-golden undertone (PhotoShopped probably). A lot of Asians tend to be mistaken for being younger than they actually are because of the texture of their skin. In terms of the “Forbidden Fruit” tagline, the capital city of China was known in ancient times as “The Forbidden City”. The drink is apple flavored. And apples are red. This again relates to Asian culture because the color red is considered to be a symbol of good luck by the Chinese. Hence the red overcast lighting. I’m very familiar with Asian culture and have many friends of Asian descent. Oh, and I’m Asian myself.

    The ad does not mean to suggest anything close to child sexualization or child pornography. Obviously, it stereotypes Asian women in a perverse and sexual way. This is unfortunate. But nothing relating to children.

    And another thing. Some Asians are just naturally thin and can’t put on weight. And some just look really young for their age (mostly due to being short and/or thin and small-framed). But it makes me sad that Asians aren’t taken seriously sometimes because people mistake us for children. 🙁 This has happened to many Asian friends of mine, either in everyday life or even the workplace. And then there are the you-must-be-starving-yourself-because-you’re-so-skinny comments. 🙁

    • mamaV says:

      Hi asdf: Thank you for lending your perspective as an Asian individual. Although your interpretation of the ad is interesting I find it to be a stretch.

      This vodka is being marketed in the US. It is doubtful the majority of Americans see this and say:

      “Cool, this stuff is good luck and from the Forbidden City!”

      Further, the tagline makes no sense IF the image of the model is NOT a child. Why would an Asian woman be a “forbidden fruit?” Tell us more about your perspective that Asian women are portrayed in a “sexual and perverse” way — do you feel Asians are shown this way more than say white Americans?

      I do want to point out that my conclusion that the model was a child came from the fact that she has no breasts, and looks prepubescent. Perhaps to this you would say many Asian women carry this frame?

      I noticed one other thing — the “S” that I first thought was a rope, is likely symbolic of a snake…even more evidence this is some sort of demented Adam and Eve scenario.

      Bottomline– marketers know exactly what they are doing here, and the more they can walk the line, or should I say cross the line the better…which is really, really pathetic.

      • Asdf says:

        I see what you’re saying. But I’m surprised no one else is seeing my viewpoint. I live in NYC and am in my early twenties. My friends and I (both Asian and non-Asian) often joke about this idea called “yellow fever”. Which basically means that young Asian women are portrayed in today’s youth-targeted media and TV as submissive and possibly kinky in the bedroom. It’s mostly a joke amongst college students. I’m surprised no one else has heard of it. The idea behind it might have a little to do with fetishizing prepubescent bodies, but it’s unclear whether it’s that or just that Asians are considered “exotic” by some non-Asian Americans (again, a lot belonging in the drunk college kids category). Maybe it’s a term used only in areas with high Asian populations. But anyway, you can look up “yellow fever” on to get a better explanation. Thanks for the reply!

        • Emily S. says:

          I did see a little vague-ethnic-exotic reference there – it is extremely common for women of non-western European cultures to be cast in an exotic/sexual light, and the fetishization of other cultures is a very common trope in advertising. I wouldn’t see it as a stretch for an exotic “other” looking woman to be in an ad referencing “Forbidden Fruit”.

          I don’t think I saw it as strongly as an Asian reference as you did, but I can certainly see how coming from your background it would be the most apparent theme. I also saw the lace veil and thought about the Latin American culture – a lot of religious and coming-of-age theme imagery.

          Sociological Images has a lot of commentary on this issue, here’s one particularly interesting link (esp given the snake/rope/bondage imagery above):

  4. cggirl says:

    One word: Creepy.

  5. Francesca says:

    Horrible advert. So much wrong about it I don’t know where to start.

  6. Nell says:

    I feel vindicated in not liking vodka (which is the “in” beverage of the moment here, taking over from Single Malts) now.

    Perhaps that one German politician that got into trouble for having child porn on his computer should’ve just used this as his defence: I was just collecting ad material.


  7. vitty10 says:

    Wow. That is not an ad I expected to see, ever.

  8. Lauren says:

    Yes, Stoli apple vodka. Apples are the biblical forbidden fruit.

    Also, I think that might be a mantilla, another religious reference, not a blindfold.

    The ad might be problematic, but I don’t think it’s trying to suggest that statutory rape is A-OK.

  9. gemfit says:

    I didn’t read it like that at all – in fact, I didn’t even see the girl as underage. And I didn’t see the blindfold.

    Perhaps I’m not as cynical and a little naive but sometimes I think we can read too much into things.

    • Marlie says:

      I didn’t think the woman was underage either. Even before I knew it was for an apple flavor, I thought of Adam and Eve.

      Looking closely at the picture, I still do not think the woman is a child, and she has the body language I would imagine Eve to have as she was questioned.

      I don’t think it’s a matter of reading to closely into things though. If so many people see a problem, then it is probably there even if you do not see the same from personal perspective.

  10. .C. says:

    Anyone know who the model is? Maybe that can offer us some insight – not that her age affects what she looks like, but still. Anyway, I do think that the “Forbidden Fruit” comment goes for the apple thing. It is apple vodka. That is not to say that the image of the girl is appropriate, but I don’t think we can say that that is the first reference they are making with the “Forbidden Fruit” line. If anything, it’s subtext the viewer is meant to pick up on, whether consciously or not. That said I am not saying the ad is appropriate, but neither do I think it is child pornography. Also, like Lauren sort of said, I do think that the thing on her eyes is either a veil or a mask, not a blindfold. I will say though that she is super skinny, like every other model ever, pretty much, so if we’re talking about that I’ll throw it out there.


  11. Catgal says:

    I think that is a veil that she has on her head/face, which to me fits in even more with the Eve reference. The apple was forbidded, the snake conned her into eating it, and when she did she received knowledge, kind of like having a veil lifted or your eyes opened.

    Anyone buying?

    • mamaV says:

      Hey Catgal: The thing is that the top image with just the girl and the tagline is what was shown in the ad. Then it dissolved slowly to the bottom image which showed the viewer it was for vodka.

      I’ve worked in marketing/advertising for my entire career, so I don’t buy for one second this is not a sexually charged ad. It’s naive of us to think so. Sex sells, it always will, and if you can combine it with alcohol — bam! You got us.

      It is really interesting reading everyone’s comments though — I realize how very cynical I am, but between my “real job” and blogging for years I do not put anything past advertisers!


  12. stathis says:

    does anyone know the name of the woman in the ad of stoli, in the 11th picture(from left to right)?? here > if you know please tell me

  13. How can u add a flash slide show to your blogspot?

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