Truth in Advertising? Brazilian Beer Ad Actually Calls Paris Hilton a Slut

Last Updated Feb 26, 2010 12:12 PM EST

Paris Hilton is referred to as a slut in her new ad for Devassa beer in Brazil. The ad made headlines yesterday when it triggered an inquiry by Brazilian ad authorities into whether it was too sexy or too sexist to be shown.

A report in Ad Age translated the name of the beer -- Devassa Bem Loura -- as meaning "very blonde." But that's just one translation. According to a Portuguese-speaking BNET reader, the more likely interpretation in Brazil will be:

Devassa means a no-moral woman, a woman who sleeps with any and many men and there's no relation with "blonde" woman.

It was a joke of two-ways word, like "this beer goes with everything," when the founders of this small brewery started the business, later bought by a local big brewery company.

And for Brasilian beer consumers, Paris Hilton is nothing. It's why nobody understands the strategy.

You can see similar interpretations on Austin's Statesman.com, on The Superficial, and in the comments section under Ad Age's story.

The negative connotations of the word, coupled with Hilton's behavior in the ad, explain why some in Brazil might think the brewer has gone too far. Unless you understand all the different meanings of the brand name and the tagline, the ad appears to be quite tame (at least, compared to Hilton's efforts for Carls Jr.)

Back in 2007, someone who appeared to be working for Devassa-owner Grupo Schincariol discussed the meaning of "Devassa" on Proz, a web site for professional translators. In addition to debauched, dissolute, libertine, lewd and immoral, one contributor came up with rackish and wanton.

(Click to enlarge.) The exchange ends with the message, "Thanks! I just needed to give the client a feel of what the word meant."

The U.K.'s Register reported that Hilton was informed that the word meant "libertine" before the ads ran. And then she fell over at the product launch party after drinking a can.