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Will SAB’s alcopop brand Brutal Fruit smell success w...



SAB’s alcopop brand Brutal Fruit launches a perfume

(Photo: Joe Public)

The SAB brand has launched a perfume that ‘carries with it the feeling of belonging’. But how appropriate is that in a country with an underage drinking problem?

Nobody’s had a whiff of it yet. It’s not on the shelves and there’s no recommended retail price. It may well even be an April Fool’s joke (in January, but this is Covid, so anything goes) and, already, it seems to be “a vibe”.

Some are gushing about it on social media, with more than 68,000 viewings of the advert on Twitter barely two days after it launched. It has been retweeted at least 130 times and has more than 300 likes.

Its Facebook page, which has 134,682 followers, has a paltry 78 likes. On Instagram, however, about 34,000 have already viewed the ad, with around 150 comments by youngsters gushing about how they’d love to try it, that “this is going to smell ncaaa”.

Smiley faces, red-hot flames, OMGs and #YouBelongToAffect hashtags all round. TikTok videos are sure to follow.

“Our new fragrance is the head turner you never knew you needed,” the advert gushes. “Introducing You Belong by Brutal Fruit: an elegant and delicate blend of fruity, floral and spicy notes, inspired by confident women. Is this exciting or what?”

The ad features a pretty young thing who is having confidence issues in the bathroom. After spritzing on a personality and, presumably, some va-va-voom, she sashays out of the ladies and into lovelyland, where everybody’s smiling and gorgeous, flowers blossom at her very touch and all’s well with the world. Finally, she “belongs”.

SAB’s alcopop brand Brutal Fruit has hyped up the launch of a range of perfumes and I do hope they smell better than the night a friend had a wobble from Fifth Avenue Cold Duck on the soft leather of my dad’s Merc after a matric rave in Plettenberg Bay.

However sickly sweet it’s likely to be, if it’s a real product, it’s going to appeal to the alcopop market so, presumably, you can smell as good (or bad) as you feel inside. Let’s hope it’s not a case of perfume in, poison out.

In a media statement, the brand said that the inspiration is to “celebrate a sisterhood that uplifts and positively affects all those they encounter… This year, external validation is out and self-love, self-acceptance and the confidence of belonging is definitely in.”

Apparently made in partnership with master perfumers and inspired by Brutal Fruit lovers, You Belong is said to blend sparkling citrus and floral top notes, with a backbone of sandalwood, plum and peach, “subtly underscored by a base of tonka beans, labdanum [also known as rock rose] and precious woods”.

Brutal Fruit says the bouquet is an “elegant, visceral experience that carries with it the feeling of belonging”.

Ramona Kayembe, marketing manager for Brutal Fruit South Africa, added, “It may seem unexpected – a fragrance – but, in actual fact, it makes perfect sense that we are fortunate enough to be able to bring our consumers such a unique offering: a scent that truly embodies and personifies that #YouBelongToAffect. We are so excited to share the You Belong fragrance with our South African consumers and we hope that the narrative continues to resonate, with everyone.

“We stand firm in our mantra and what better way to affect your entrance into a room or own a moment than with how you smell and how that scent makes you feel… We are very proud of this journey we are on.”

Details of stockists and prices are yet to be disclosed.

Parents may be less enthusiastic about the product, especially its linking the sweet smell of Brutal Fruit to belonging.

South Africa has a problem with underage drinking. Aware.org, a non-profit organisation that focuses on preventing the negative consequences of alcohol abuse, notes that children in SA start drinking well before the legal age of 18, with 50% of teenagers having tried or consumed alcohol.

However sickly sweet it’s likely to be, it’s going to appeal to the alcopop market so, presumably, you can smell as good – or bad – as you feel inside.

The country, it says, has the unenviable ranking of being the sixth largest consumer of alcohol in the world, according to the World Health Organization.

Aware.org quotes a study that shows that 12% of school-going youth have their first drink before they are 13 years old.

“We have to start the conversation earlier to effectively address the problem of underage drinking,” Aware.org CEO Ingrid Louw says on its website.

As a society, the organisation notes, many do not realise the extent or implications of underage drinking.

“Alcohol, its advertising, sales, and integration into all facets of communication and its consumption have become normalised, there has been a desensitisation to its impact and effects and [it] has even been elevated to a level of ‘glamour’ and status in society – which has left our children vulnerable,” Aware.org says.

Last year, Jameson made a feeble attempt at an early April Fool’s joke by “launching” an imaginary skincare line, Beatha, with model Ayanda Thabethe as the brand ambassador. It was said to have been the start of a Comedy Month campaign, centred on Jameson’s “Humour Me” digital comedy series. The reception to the “stunt” was lukewarm.

The Brutal Fruit scent may well surprise the cynics. And, because it’s so hyped, the young ones are likely to buy bucketloads of it. Young people are very receptive to advertising for aspirational products. But let’s not kid ourselves: this product has a very clear link to the consumption of alcopops. DM168

This story first appeared in our weekly Daily Maverick 168 newspaper which is available for R25 at Pick n Pay, Exclusive Books and airport bookstores. For your nearest stockist, please click here.


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