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Skyy Vodka is at it again…

Skyy Vodka, Inc.
2822 Van Ness Ave.
San Francisco, CA 94109
(415) 931-2000

April 10th, 2002

Dear public relations coordinator:

I am writing in regards to the advertisement released by your company entitled “Skyy Blue.” I wrote to you in March 2000 regarding another advertisement (entitled #49 Riviera Rendezvous.) I am, as I was then, appalled by the image that I came upon while reading Entertainment Weekly’s April 12th issue. I am sure other people are viewing the picture with an equal amount of disgust. The image itself is not just selling your alcoholic drink; it is perpetuating an unrealistic picture of alcohol and its effects. The advertisement is both offensive and degrading to women. The woman in the picture is objectified and in view of a man with a symbolic erection. The woman is half-naked and standing in a “come and get me pose” with her legs wide open. You are selling a message with your vodka that women are cheap and easy~ and that if a man can get a woman under the influence, she’ll “open up” too. Aside from it being glaringly offensive, this advertisement is also fiscally unsound as it alienates a significant portion of your clientele.

This is not the first time that your company has received negative responses to the advertisements, which you create. It seems there was another specific portrait depicting two women in an unflattering image. “Inner Peace” #23 is anything but peaceful. I am not going to elaborate on what is blatantly an issue of inferiority between two women from two different ethnic backgrounds. The tally is now at three offensive advertisements. I do not enjoy any of them but the above three must be addressed. I am asking specifically that you take responsibility for these degrading images of women. You are selling alcohol, not sex, not status, and certainly not an easy woman. The advertisement is not art. It is a “socially acceptable” form of reinforcing the way society should see women. I’m not buying it anymore.

I request a formal apology for the offensive advertisement and ask for its immediate removal from the eyes of the public. It is demeaning to women. We are not sex objects and this ad is clearly an objectification of a woman, selling her sexuality as a commodity for men (which they can get by using your alcohol). I am now boycotting Skyy Vodka for life! I have been informing the public (through email, word of mouth, academic presentations, and through web-based organizations that are working for the same goal-to change the way women are treated in society) of this matter and will continue to do so as clearly you are an irresponsible company that disregards a woman’s integrity. This lack of responsibility only contributes to the disrespect for women and their bodies. A woman is raped every three minutes in our society. Think about the women in your life and if you give a damn think of them the next time you consider creating such a ridiculous ad.

Ms. Jennifer Reger

Skyy’s Response:

April 16th, 2002

Ms. Jennifer Reger
Rosemont College
Rosemont, PA 19010

Thank you for taking the time to contact us regarding our advertisement. We will review your comments in detail and consider them carefully in relation to this ad and any future ads within the overall campaign.

Our goal with the SKYY campaign is to reach a consumer with a cinematic image. No copy is used, no claims are made, it is simply SKYY bringing you this moment to catch your attention. When there is no tagline or written copy, it means we leave the interpretation of the ad up to the viewer. Unfortunately, sometimes this leads to misunderstandings of our advertising intent.

As we develop ads, our multi cultural, female/male team all have our own interpretations of the potential stories that our ads may generate. All our ads depict a potential scene from a movie and like the colorful but exaggerated world of film, our ads are rich and dramatic.

The new generation of youth and trendsetters is giving a unique character and revolutionary ambience to contemporary art and fashion. One only has to look around to see the way covers of our favorite magazine have evolved, to experience the celebration of diversity in music, literature, and communication. We feel we are part of the contemporary cultural environment where the freedom of choice and expression is paramount.

We never intend to offend anyone and thank you for expressing your concern. We hope that this letter clarifies our advertising intent.

Sincerely,

Sue Hearn
Public Relations Manager

Sue Hearn
SKYY Spirits
Public Relations Manager
415-931-2000 X123
sueh@skyy.com