3 Things I Want Brewdog To Know
On Thursday, it's International Woman's Day - so I guess we should've expected another stellar turn from a drinks company attempting to address the gendered perception of certain drinks - and failing spectacularly.
I've written before about how the drinks marketeers still don't seem to understand how to talk to women in a way that isn't patronising. So far this month we've already had Jane Walker - and today Brewdog unveiled their Pink IPA, an International Women's Day-friendly repackaging of their bestseller, Punk IPA.
The Twitter-sphere has (obviously) been ripe with with debate (read: *angry people shouting*) about this new release. In one corner: the eye-rollers, including Brewdog themselves, who despair that women of the world just can't take a joke and #sarcasm duhhh. In the other: people who understand the point of the campaign, but think that the ethos and execution are woefully misjudged. Neatly summarised by my new hero, Georgina, who rightly enough went straight for the jugular:
So we understand the joke, but just what is it about this campaign which leaves a sour taste in our collective mouths? Brewdog have a track record of outre marketing stunts which aren't to everyone's taste - but why has this in particular hit a nerve? They're not the first drinks marketing department to patronise and segregate their female customers. Not only have we had whisky, we've also had beer before - but the blatant 'everyone who hates this is on their period'-ness of their response moves me to add my voice to the multitude.
So hey, Brewdog, here are three things I have to say about this misjudged campaign and your thoughtless reaction to the backlash:
- The assumption that women have to be marketed to separately from men is plain asking for it. Market to us ALL as beer/ whisky lovers - not on gender lines.
- Altering existing product packaging to be girl-friendly actually reinforces the distinctions between what sorts of drinks men and women are 'supposed' to like. So don't do it.
- Blatant attempts to monetise important ideological events like International Women's Day are crass. If you really want to address the gender pay gap, then sort out your own house first. I have not sourced these figures myself, but I trust the Guardian's statement that: "BrewDog has disclosed a 2.8% median gender pay gap in favour of men across its global business, which employs 1,000 people." Imagine the powerful statement you'd be making, and the change you'd be affecting, as a company with no gender-pay differentiation. You could've started to address this imbalance with the budget for this marketing campaign.
As a final note: I really look forward to the day when marketing departments will wise up to the fact that in a world where gender is becoming increasingly fluid as a concept, making something pink a'int for the ladies a'int gonna win you many friends...