How a 1970s Toothpick Model Spoke Up, and Became a Facebook Sensation

Indelicate Gina nearing 2 million fans

Taking abuse from a woman best known as the previously silent face of 1970s toothpick packaging? Who wouldn't enjoy that? Forbes succinctly summarizes the somewhat convoluted story of Gina Indelicada (aka Indelicate Gina), a character lifted from the carton of toothpick brand Rela Gina—familiar to generations of Brazilians—and given her own rogue Facebook page. Fans ask Gina questions, usually of a mildly racy variety, and she replies in sassy, uninhibited fashion. And … that's about it. Her act is tame, even corny, by American standards, but she's hot stuff in Brazil, where sarcastic one-liners are apparently tougher to come by. Gina is the work of Riccky Lopes, a 19-year-old São Paulo ad student with a knack for big-time social engagement (and a bigger knack for self-promotion), who says she pierces the Brazilian veneer of effusive courtesy and friendliness. "Whenever a person comes around who breaks that stereotype, people will relate to them as someone who speaks their mind and is sincere. Gina is all of that," he says. Yes, Lopes "borrowed" a commercial icon for his endeavor, but the toothpick firm doesn't hold a grudge. "We never expected this kind of attention, and we certainly don't intend to sue Lopes for it. Instead, we want to partner up with him," says CEO Alfredo Rela Neto. (I'm sure if I used Mr. Peanut as my avatar, Kraft would feel the same way.) Lopes wisely cashed in on his sudden stardom and signed with an ad agency to run a deodorant campaign. (Glad to know he'll be making the world a better place.) The Gina Indelicada page has 1.7 million likes in about two weeks. It won't be long before one of those BBH entrants defaces Ecce Homo with her likeness.

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