Brazil scraps 'happy prostitute' ad campaign

The intention was to put a positive spin on legal prostitution and safe sex, but critics slammed the effort for glorifying the trade.

By Aimee Picchi Jun 6, 2013 10:43AM
File photo of prostitutes working in the Copacabana neighborhood of Rio de Janeiro, Brazil during the Pan American Games on July 15, 2007 (© Douglas Engle/Bloomberg via Getty Images)

A Brazilian ad campaign aiming to put a positive spin on prostitution hasn't met a happy ending. 

The country's health agency has scrapped the campaign, which featured photos of prostitutes with taglines such as "I'm happy being a prostitute."

"I do not think this is a message the ministry should be sending," Health Minister Alexandre Padilha said, according to the BBC. 

The campaign raised widespread criticism, with some people saying it glorified prostitution, which is legal in Brazil. The ads had been tested on the ministry's website and weren't meant to be published, Padilha said. Other posters had slogans such as "I cannot be seen without a condom, my love."

Demand for prostitution is expected to jump in the next few years, given that the country is hosting the FIFA World Cup in 2014 and the Olympics in 2016. 

Unfortunately, young children are often meeting the demand for sex services, according to a 2010 report by the BBC. The country has been overtaking Thailand as the most popular sex tourist destination, the report noted. 

The campaign is yet another example of an advertising strategy gone wrong. Procter & Gamble (PG) this week yanked an ad showing the feminist icon Rosie the Riveter holding a Swiffer mop, while PepsiCo (PEP) last month scrapped a Mountain Dew ad that one expert called "arguably the most racist commercial in history."

Follow Aimee Picchi on Twitter at @aimeepicchi. 

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Jun 6, 2013 2:17PM
Pay a woman with an expensive meal, in exchange for sex... it's called courtship

Pay a woman with a diamond, in exchange for sex... it's called a sacred institution

Pay a woman with a house or car, in exchange for sex... you are called a great provider and a "catch"

Pay a woman with cash, in exchange for sex... you are a criminal

Makes perfect sense.

Jun 6, 2013 1:44PM
prostitution should be legal.a person has the right to use their body in any way they choose.
Jun 6, 2013 1:51PM
Nothing the US can do to control the Brazilians. I bet you there will be thousands of US citizens using those services during the World Cup and The Olimpics
Jun 6, 2013 1:55PM
What's good for the US Secret Service is good for me as well. I have no problem with prostitutes, they perform a vital service and can be well compensated for it.
Jun 6, 2013 3:12PM
Prostitution is not buying sex, marriage is buying sex. Prostitution is renting sex & it is one of the times that, if it is looked at from a purely financial standpoint,  it is cheaper to rent than it is to buy.
Jun 6, 2013 1:46PM

I notice with great amusement that all bureaucrats love to practice "do as I say not as I do" life styles.  They are quick to denounce activities for the masses that they themselves may actively pursue.  They have a ready answer when caught and criticized for it too.  They typically spout the old line that they are mature enough to handle it whether it is alcohol, drugs, gambling, or soliciting a prostitute (male or female).


As some have pointed out the problems arise when young men and women are forced or coerced into the profession.  Then it becomes 'white slavery' and that is unacceptable.  I personally believe that we actually support that practice by making regular prostitution illegal.  First of all it increases the money value of such services and thus creates a market for attractive young boys and girls that would most likely be much less if easy, safe, clean, and legal prostitution were available at a reasonable price.  With such a financial incentive it causes many to become pimps or to try and become independent prostitutes just for the money. 


There are many arguments for and against all of the vices and their legal status.  There simply isn't enough room here to discuss all of them.  However we have tried to prohibit everything from alcohol to gambling to drugs and prostitution and it has never ever been the least bit successful in ending any of them.  Simply put you cannot end it; all you can do is learn to live with it and regulate and control it.  Until we come to that realization we are going to continue to struggle with all of these so called social problems just as we do in the U.S. today.  In some ways Brazil is wiser than we are in that regard but as this article shows even there they have their fair share of nay sayers who would have it otherwise.       

Jun 6, 2013 2:01PM
"You sell it,  but you've still got it.  It's the perfect business"
-Bill Murray,  'What about Bob?'

Jun 6, 2013 1:38PM
Government injecting itself where it shouldn't be, as usual. 

Why is there never a middle ground?  Prostitution should be legal, of course, despite the cries of the fraudulent anti-trafficking movement, but there's no reason for tax money to be used promoting it.

Jun 6, 2013 11:44AM
A person being a prostitute isn't the problem per se. What is the Problem are Pimps and those that would force folks into being slave prostitutes. The reality is prostitution is alive and well all over the World,  just look at all the Rich Boys who buy This, for getting back that!

Yet they are surprised when the divorce comes asking for half.

Jun 6, 2013 1:48PM
Our government should run like the bible, and everyone has a choice to do what they want, but obviously they will have to pay the consequences for their actions, like getting an STD, or getting divorced because you cheated on your wife. There are natural consequences for our actions, and government should not be trying to regulate everything.
Jun 6, 2013 3:18PM
This is one of the oldest professions. With all the money and resources wasted in the  fight against prostitution why not just legalize it??? Make is safe for the women and the men.  Regulate it and TAX it.  Prostitution will NEVER stop.  It hasn't for centuries.
Jun 6, 2013 2:49PM

they say that 1 out of 4 women are battered...

but i've been eating mine raw for years!!!







come on, where's your sense of humor?

Jun 6, 2013 2:07PM
Prostitutes  should be legal.  Now, someone like Boehner, handing out their pimp's, I mean the tobacco lobby's money, to fellow Republicans on the floor of Congress, why is that legal?  Prostitutes live by working, and Congressmen live by selling themselves and in the process our democratic republic.
Jun 6, 2013 3:42PM

who really cares its the oldest job in history, they need to find something else to worry about.

Jun 6, 2013 3:21PM
Ohhh I get it! That makes perfect sense! NOT!! Lets make prostitution illegal but glorify ****ing homosexual marriage:P
Jun 6, 2013 3:58PM
Prostitution is renting puss. Marriage is buying it. Get more bang for your buck renting in this case.
Jun 6, 2013 2:44PM
Prostitution is simply a word for ugly guys having sex with pretty girls because they have money. That happens everyday. In America we just are in denial about it and try to make it illegal, but what is really happening in America is this: if you actually try to cut through all the nonsense, and just give the girl money (without the dinner and the dancing and the car and apartment and paying the bills and marriage and all that) you'll be arrested -actually, she gets arrested.  Because in America it is the Church who wants you to prostitute yourself by getting married, doing it any other way pisses the Church off.
Jun 6, 2013 2:20PM
so what you are saying is Brazil "yanked" the ad "off" the air?
Jun 6, 2013 3:01PM
did you people miss the part where the YOUNG CHILDREN are the ones being prostituted?
Jun 6, 2013 4:40PM
Children and sex services should never be in the same sentence.  I don't understand the attraction.  They must know they are screwing these kids up for LIFE.  There is no place bad enough to put the people who exploit children for sex.
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