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Monday, 29 June 2015 | By Gerry Mulvaney


By Gerry Mulvaney, European Sales Manager, Landa Digital Printing

My wife’s preferred tipple is a gin and tonic but she is also partial to a pint of beer if we are out walking. However, she does not take too kindly to the barman offering it in a “lady’s glass”, since that is invariably half the normal measure.

The boss of one of the UK’s largest brewers, Fosters, has clearly taken on board the change in his industry’s attitude towards women, speaking out about sexist beer advertisements that alienate women drinkers.

Beers with names such as “Slack Alice”, “Elsie Mo” and Naughty Noelle” accompanied by pictures of scantily clad women still appear in pubs around the country and Fosters is urging the industry to ditch the archaic laddish culture and move with the times, as more and more of their customers are women.

The number of women in Britain drinking beer has doubled in the past few years, there are now women only beer tasting clubs and there is even a beer festival called Fem Ale (spot the pun?) dedicated to the growing number of women in the brewing industry.

So you would assume with the growing interest in beers from women the industry would be working hard to attract their custom! But it seems they are slow to catch on. They are still producing advertisements where bikini wearing girls sip pints and men escape from their wives for a night at the pub. The sexist approach is not confined to Britain. Last month Budweiser was forced to apologise after a social media storm caused by advertising a Bud Light as “the perfect beer for removing ‘no’ from your vocabulary for the night” was accused of promoting a rape culture.

It is not just the brewing industry that is finding a backlash to out of date and sexist marketing. A weight reduction advert on the London tube was another target of social media scorn after a young girl in a bikini with the slogan “are you beach ready?” was accused of “body-shaming” women. Over 71,000 people signed a petition demanding that London Underground remove it from the billboards, and many of posters were defaced by angry commuters.

Sexist marketing as depicted in London Underground advertisement defaced by protesters

London Underground advertisement defaced by protesters

Clearly there is a strong message here for brand owners that misogynist advertising and sexist marketing is unacceptable in today’s world and they should think more about their campaigns.

The Printing Industry is Putting Sexism Behind it and Welcoming Women to Key Positions

I remember a time when the printing industry was also guilty of such an approach, with bikini clad girls at trade shows promoting water based plate chemistry, dancing girls providing the entertainment on equipment manufacturers stands and girls gratuitously used in magazine adverts. Growing numbers of women in key industry positions put an end to such a sexist approach.

Today’s consumers will no longer tolerate out of date attitudes and approaches from brands, and as well as voting with the wallets, social media storms can cause huge brand damage. Increasing numbers of women are the decision makers in product purchases so brands and advertisers will have to take account of their growing influence when marketing their products.

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