Brutal Fruit’s Brutal Brand Fail

Brutal Fruit’s Brutal Brand Fail

posted in: Blog, Uncategorized | 7

Full disclosure guys, the last time I willingly had a Brutal Fruit was probably around the age of 13 at Gold Reef City, so it’s possible I’m not exactly the target market here.

But in August, Women’s Month, this video was sponsored into my Twitter timeline. I ignored its first several autoplays because I saw glitter and I thought someone had spelled #Sherlock wrong in their hashtag. But once I heard it was a cringe-fest of note, I had to take the eleven minute plunge.

Brutal Fruit produced this influencer “round table”(just because the table is round doesn’t mean the discussion qualifies as a round table, fam. But anyway.)

Watch. Just watch. Tell me how far you get before you have to take a breather. I watched it in 30 second increments.


I have sooo many questions.

Firstly, the brand strategist that lives deep in my vodka-soaked heart wants to know:

  1. Why the intro? Ouch. Couldn’t we get another take where the host doesn’t look like she lost a bet to be here?
  2. Why. Are. They. Drinking. But. There. Is. No. Product. On. The. Table. Was this a generic pro-active idea that somebody shot and then sold to Brutal Fruit? Because this whole wine and orange juice vibe makes zero sense to me. You’re selling a drink! But the drink’s not there!
  3. It’s the middle of the day. Is that usually when (obnoxious air quotes) “girlfriends” have “deep conversations about life and love”? No? Or maybe the round table supposed to elevate the Brutal Fruit crowd as the authorities on relationships. This did not really take off as expected. See my next list below. (Yup, this is a multi-list listicle. I’m an ambitious + powerful woman like that.)
  4. Who styled this thing? That white tablecloth is KILLING me. It’s taking up like 80% of the shot! It looks like a conference table or the world’s most awkward job interview set up.
  5. Why all the power shoulders? The way everyone is dressed also says “conference” to me. I’m not an expert in the Brutal Fruit brand personality, but something tells me that totes profesh white tablecloth business meetings are NOT the main environment where people drink this – WTF is Brutal Fruit anyway? A cane spritzer? A rum candy juice? Help me out here.

Now that we’ve got the shop talk out of the way, can we ask where the last 100 years of feminism went? And while we’re at it, let’s ask:

  1. Why was this posted? You know you’re in shit with the Twitter crowd when the first statement is “Men were made to hunt and take control.” Now I don’t want to slam these women for their individual opinions or views on relationships – even though a lot of it screams holy internalised misogyny, Batman! But I want to know who on the brand side watched all eleven cringe-worthy minutes and thought, “Yup! This is gonna do great!”
  2. Why launch this series (yup, this is but episode 1!) in Women’s Month when the entire conversation centres around men? How to keep men’s fragile egos satisfied seems to be the bulk of the discussion. How to ‘compromise’ so he doesn’t feel ‘threatened’ by your success is a hot topic! I’m sad we didn’t go into much detail – do I tell him my job is pro bono? Tell him I’m going to prayer meetings instead of conferences? Buy my own plane tickets but say “Teehee, thank you baby!” to him as I get my passport stamped? I need tactics, people!
  3. If you’re gonna call this thing a round table, which is a kind of academic debate, why not have people with differing viewpoints challenging one another? At one point, a woman says “You have to make him feel like a man. It’s in our biology, it’s in evolution, it’s in science,” and everyone else nods along as if that statement MAKES ANY SENSE. Why have six women at all? Why not just one, in a Brutal Fruit promo outfit, staring straight at the camera saying “You are a delicate silly lady and you need a man to control your life. Your job is to be powerful but make sure to stroke his ego. It’s science! Now sip on this alcoholic Oros until you lose your heels at three in the morning.”

The amount of money that the Brutal Fruit team must have sunk into this ill-advised venture might be punishment enough. I bet somebody over there is wishing they’d sent Instagram-famous selfie artists a six pack each and called it a day on the marketing side.

But what’s the lesson? Bullshit-test your content. When you’re tackling issues like gender, sex, race, or even seemingly harmless pop-culture topics, you have to bullshit-test. Find the grumpiest, most cynical, most annoyingly woke person you can and show them the things you want to put out into the world. Let them poke holes in it.  Listen. Change your approach so it’s less fundamentally awful. It’s so much easier than having the internet at large do it for you.

7 Responses

  1. I can’t, on so many levels of being unable to. I had to fight the urge to throw up all over my phone

  2. First thing I asked myself is,” Where the FCUK is the product?”.

    A must read for Brand Strats!

  3. You’re right about them making the mistake of bullshit testing it. I think somehow this was an orchestrated troll by the team. There is no way in hell their digital marketing team does not do research on Twitter. There is no way he/she cannot not know that issues that you raised; patriarchy, misogyny and stereotypical gender roles are being shredded to bits and torn down by women in the 18 -28 bracket Twitter users especially on Twitter. The woke are here to interrogate everything. This is why I think this is a troll.
    As for point 2, I don’t think they needed the product there cos it’s already watermarked on the video, as well as their Twitter and its also the title of the video. Anything more than that, even something as obvious as plugging in the product, would be overkill and go against the principles of Content Marketing. Ok, bye
    – @KwakusNotAmused

    • I like your troll conspiracy theory, but don’t underestimate the power of ignorance! It makes perfect sense to us that Twitter would tear this apart – but to a 40+ marketer who only vaguely knows that twitter uses hashtags, it wouldn’t even be a thought that crosses their mind.

      As for branding, of course they needed product! An in-situ placement of the product speaks way more to the consumers than a watermark on a video – if you’re hiring influencers, why wouldn’t you get shots of them enjoying your product? If anything, I’d remove the watermark because it should be unnecessary if they’d produced the video right.

      Thanks for commenting!

  4. I only managed “So … we are talking about men” then I had to stop.

    I guess not product cos #alcohol?, maybe there are restrictions on the video. Still… branding could have helped the overwhelming WHITENESS

  5. […] This year wasn’t quite as jazzy, but we saw Telkom erasing black women in its Women’s Day messaging, and Brutal Fruit hosting a problematic AF round table. […]

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