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Our letter to Moscow Distillery Cristall Executives

This campaign is now closed, but the letter we and supporters sent is below:

Dear Mr. Ermilov and Moscow Distillery Cristall Executives:

I urge you to immediately withdraw your Gzhelka television ads showing a female nurse give intravenous vodka to a comatose patient and then sexually assault him by having intercourse with him without his consent. The ad to which I am referring can be seen here: http://tinyurl.com/3x856b.

This ad reinforces a tired but powerful "naughty nurse" stereotype. It suggests that use of the product by hospital patients will instantly produce an erotic reaction from the always-available bedside nurse--the same scenario, incidentally, recently employed by Gillette in a TAG Body Spray ad, and a Dentyne gum commercial, among others. Such ads reinforce an enduring image of workplace sexual availability.

I also note that you also have the nurse pushing a damaging public health theme by having her encourage vodka as the real cure for what ails a man, which is not very helpful in a nation with one of the highest rates of alcohol consumption in the world, and the same kind of nursing crisis seen in many other nations.

In fact, for decades, the view that nurses are frivolous, sexually available females has plagued the profession. I understand that such ads are "jokes," but when nurses are displayed as no more than a standard comic prop, that reinforces the commonly held view that nurses are not serious professionals. The point of advertising is to affect the way viewers act, and the effects are not limited to the company's conscious goal of increasing profits.

It would be no defense to harmful stereotyping in other contexts, such as racial stereotyping, to claim that those responsible were just trying to achieve some other worthy goal, like selling vodka to males. Naughty nurse imagery may serve that goal. But it also discourages practicing and potential nurses, encourages sexual abuse in the workplace, and undermines nurses' ability to convince decision-makers to allocate adequate resources to nursing, exacerbating the enormous public health crisis of the global nursing shortage.

I urge Moscow Distillery Cristall to follow responsible marketing practices, stop reinforcing stereotypes that contribute to the deadly nursing shortage, and apologize to all nurses.

Thank you for your consideration.