Get Your Sexy Back - Advertising Cambodia

Information Minister Khieu Kanharith this week launched a marketing campaign titled “Get Your Sexy Back,” aimed at promoting a culture of moderate alcohol consumption among young people by linking excessive drinking to a loss of sexual attractiveness.

Launched on Monday and presided over by the long-serving information minister, the campaign—which is sponsored by Tiger Beer and based around a Facebook page that encourages people to comment “That’s Not Me” on a picture of a man passed out drunk—will climax with a concert in Phnom Penh on December 24.

“This is a beer promotion,” explained Peou Maly, secretary general of the National Road Safety Committee and one of the officials who participated in the launch. “But it [the launch] was shown with the intention to educate people not to drink past their limit.”

“It’s to encourage a sentiment that people can drink with dignity, and to change people’s behavior,” Mr. Maly added.

Roland Bala, the general manager of Cambodia Brewery Limited, which produces Tiger Beer in Cambodia, said the campaign is part of his company’s effort to employ socially conscious marketing techniques.

“It’s all about responsible drinking and appealing to people to take responsibility,” Mr. Bala said. “When you drink, have a good time, but drink in moderation and keep looking good.”

“Sometimes when you go direct, it’s difficult to get to the youth, so this is a parallel effort, if you like, to encourage people to drink responsibly,” he said. “It’s the third year we’ve been running the campaign to encourage responsible drinking.”

Mr. Kanharith, who is visiting Milan, Italy, with his wife, did not respond to requests for comment.

The concept of a person trying to reintroduce “sexy” was popularized by U.S. pop singer Justin Timberlake, whose 2006 hit single “SexyBack” formed the backbone of his second album, “FutureSex/Love Sounds.”

“I’m bringing sexy back,” begins Mr. Timberlake in the song. “Them other boys don’t know how to act. I think it’s special, what’s behind your back?”

“Dirty babe, you see these shackles. Baby, I’m your slave,” Mr. Timberlake continues. “I’ll let you whip me if I misbehave.”

“SexyBack” reached the No. 1 slot on the U.S. Billboard Hot 100 list, where it stayed for seven weeks.

Despite the popularity of the song, Mr. Bala said he had been previously unaware of its existence and was simply drawn to the obvious popular appeal of the “sexy back” line.

“I didn’t even know that such a song exists,” he said. “If you look at the population here, most of the people are in their youth—the median age is 23 to 24—and these people want to look cool, and this is our sincere effort to raise awareness.”

narim@cambodiadaily.com, willemyns@cambodiadaily.com