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Don’t Support the Objectification of Women: Drink Craft Beer

Don’t Support the Objectification of Women: Drink Craft Beer

If you are a self-respecting woman and, after reading this post, you still want to drink corporate beer. Well, then. I don’t know what to think.

Today I read a post entitled: 26 Highly Suggestive Girl Beer Ads.

The author notes: “Coming up with a marketing campaign for adult beverages isn’t very hard, yet they’re almost always successful when simple rules are followed. One approach, Suggestive girl ads. They sell, really well. Here is a collection of ads from around that (for at least guys) will surely get a response in the brain, if not elsewhere…Enjoy.”

Each and every single one of the 26 advertisements objectifies women in one way or another, some being more appalling than others.Some of them made me want to vomit. Literally.

By now most of you should know that it does not take much to for my feminist side to get fired up. It is moments like these where I really believe that our progressive society is actually regressing. It frustrates me to no end to think of all the people that have fought long and hard for woman’s rights and equality, just to have them objectified by mega corporations and admen.

Part of me wonders what almost completely naked women have to do with beer sales. But then I realize, when your actual product sucks, you have to find other methods to sell it. And unfortunately, in today’s sad pathetic world, sex sells.

The difference between craft beer and corporate beer is that the actual beer sells itself. Craft beer does not need to employ the help of huge ad agencies to develop multi-million dollar ad campaigns. Craft beer does not need to objectify women and sell sex in order to sell beer. The beer speaks for itself, naked women do not.

I suppose a lot can be said for people who drink craft beer over corporate beer. Obviously, they care about WHO makes their beer, WHERE the beer comes from, and WHAT goes into their beer. They will not settle for the lowest common denominator. They refuse to be victims of marketing ploys and ad campaigns. And, most importantly, they refuse to support companies that objectify women.

I want to raise a toast to all the pink boot wearing women in the craft beer industry who are brave enough to defy female standards and work in a male-dominated industry. I want to raise a toast to all the men in the industry who support woman’s rights and refuse to stoop to the level of mega-corporations and admen. I want to raise a toast to all the people in the world who choose to support craft beer in lieu of sub-par beers made with adjuncts that use ad campaigns that objectify women.

And if you are the kind of person that likes to sit down with a corporate beer from time to time, I encourage you to re-think your purchasing behaviors and beverage choices. Especially, if you are within 100 feet of The Wench. Trust me on this, you do not want to feel my wrath.


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32 Responses to “Don’t Support the Objectification of Women: Drink Craft Beer”

  • Christine October 12th, 2010 at 5:38 pm

    YES! I agree 1000% with this. No doubt that many dumbass guys go out and buy some fizzy yellow piss-water beer because they saw some nearly-naked bimbos in some stupid commercial. It’s called marketing to the lowest common denominator, and it works very well for the purveyors of swill.

    I’m a fan of Sam Adams beers. I like their commercials, such as where they show Jim Koch going to Bavaria to hand-pick the hops. That’s something I care about. But if he ever starts having naked bimbos in his ads, I’m done with them.

    I agree…good beer sells itself through word of mouth…many beers I like, I first heard of from Facebook and beer blogs. Not because of some commercial that is insulting to women.

  • Wenchie October 12th, 2010 at 5:49 pm

    Thanks, Christine! And yes, that is why I used Sam Adams as an example. Very few craft breweries actually advertise. Sam Adams is definitely one of the bigger companies that advertises both on TV and in print … but they advertise the beer, the people who make the beer, and the quality ingredients that go into the beer.

    No naked women needed.

  • Andrew October 12th, 2010 at 6:13 pm

    These ads are so awful in so many ways. The objectification aside, I don’t even know what is going on in some of these.

  • Amie October 12th, 2010 at 8:50 pm

    Even when I was a macro beer drinking undergrad, I hated the beer ads. “Great taste, less filling.” Really? Now that I have seen the light, I’m even more disgusted. Why do women let ourselves be treated in this way? Be a feminist. Drink good beer. Cheers indeed.

  • Charles October 13th, 2010 at 5:22 am

    Less out-and-out offensive than those, but still troubling: I had a post on my site a couple days back about “Top Beer” lists from non-beer magazines. During my research, I found so many lists with titles like “Beers Even Women Will Like!” or, conversely, “Chick Beers that YOU Will Like!” I learned things like it’s okay to drink wheat beers EVEN IF YOU’RE A MAN!.

    Funny, nobody ever told me that women have inferior taste buds when it comes to beer. I try hard not to be a snob, but it’s tough sometimes when this is how a lot of the mainstream writes about beer (to be fair, there were some good lists too).

  • Frank October 13th, 2010 at 7:09 am

    I just happened to come across this blog, so if my views don’t jibe with this community’s, just ignore me and I won’t bother coming back.

    A marketing firm’s job is to promote their client’s brand. In the real world that often translates to polishing turds more than we’d like. Sex sells is unfortunately a practice proven over time. Marketers are only interested in the feelings of their target audience, and in this case there are plenty of men who enjoy seeing women objectified. Are you getting mad for someone giving their client’s customers what they want? Or should you direct your energy towards the people that vote with their dollars to make objectifying women a valid marketing tactic?

    Marketing is fickle and we’ll use whatever our target audience responds to best, it has nothing to do with our individual moral compasses. Now this is my diagnosis and it holds no weight over any other, but if your true mission is to spread your ideology and inform the world over, taking yourself too seriously is a critical error. I don’t know any of you, as Is the case quite often on the internet. All I know is you’re mad as hell and want everyone else to know too.

    I believe there was a Coors ad about a year ago where only men were getting injured in over the top ways and they would protects their pride by saying ‘I’m good’ when it was obvious a hospital visit was in their future. I threw my head back and laughed. These characters in the idiot box are cartoons. Their not worth your strife.

  • Shane October 13th, 2010 at 7:14 am

    Dear Wench,

    Thank you for posting this, I am in wholehearted agreement. The other day, one of my coworkers came over, saw my Beer Connoisseur mag, and said ‘Where are the half naked chicks? Shouldn’t that be part of any beer magazine’? Of course, that gave me an open door for a verbal asswhooping on ridiculous stereotypes of women and beer drinkers. He left, fully shamed. I’m glad of our craft beer trend, in both treating women with respect, and understanding that beer drinkers aren’t knuckleheaded drunks lusting after any piece of tail they can find. Keep up the great work! – The Burgundian

  • All Over Beer October 13th, 2010 at 8:36 am

    Ashley, what did you think of Buckbean’s Noddy Girls playing beer pong with guests at CANFEST last weekend in a craft beer environment?

  • celenacipiaso October 13th, 2010 at 8:53 am

    As a craft beer drinker and beer writer, I totally agree. This objectification of women degrades everything that women in beer stand for. It’s actually because of my anger at such ads that I started focusing writing a series on Women in Beer for The Beer Sessions. The Pink Boots Society is featured there and is everything that women in beer are about!!

    You’re right, great beer sells itself. I was just talking about the Sam Adams ads the other day with my beer loving hubby — we both agree that they’re smarter and about the beer itself.

    I think the bigger companies know they can’t rely on the the quality. Check out this article though.

    Women drinkers are on the rise, and sooner or later, big companies have to realize that they can’t rely on those type of ads.

  • Samuel Cavero October 13th, 2010 at 10:08 am

    Excellent read.

    People who fall for these ad schemes should be ashamed of themselves. Why would a semi-naked chick or a dumbass commercial completely unrelated to the overall taste of the beer be the reason for someone to purchase that product? Mind boggling…

    -Cheers to you!

  • Jessica October 13th, 2010 at 11:02 am

    Great post. I’m also super bothered by the ads that instead of being sexually suggestive, suggest that if you don’t drink their beer, you are somehow a woman (and that’s the worst thing ever). I mostly avoid commercials, except in football season. I love football, but the tons of casually sexist beer ads make me crazy. The Sam Adams ads are cool, and of course my favorite local breweries don’t advertise in a conventional way. I’m a big fan of Stone, Green Flash, and Alpine. Nary a naked lady, or sexist commercial in sight.

  • Brew Hilda October 13th, 2010 at 11:46 am

    My friend’s daughter is one of those “marketing girls” that promote the light piss beer at local bars by wearing scantily clad, way-too-tight, stiletto heeled outfits, and I watch in horror and shame and proudly chose to drink a true beer- one with depth, volume, flavor and color AND no degrading marketing gimics.

  • BikeBusBeer October 13th, 2010 at 11:56 am

    Good post Ashley. While I agree that beverage companies are responsible for the objectifying ads, one must also ask that the women who appear in those ads take a look in the mirror. Just because someone offers you money to get (half) naked, doesn’t mean you have to take it.

    The ads themselves are stupid, and sophisticated consumers (those who look for value and buy for quality) most likely disregard them. However, until the women who appear in the ads begin to refuse to disrobe for (what is likely very little) money, it seems like crucifying the advertisers is putting the cart before the horse (or killing the cold instead of the cancer, pick your simile). If one is to build a movement against such ads, one should start by getting women to think of themselves as more than a means to sell malternatives.

    Organizations like the Pink Boots are certainly a large step in the right direction. Clearly, women who work in the craft beer industry deserve a great deal of respect, not only for thriving in a male-dominated profession, but for having the courage and self-respect to define themselves with their skill, and not just their looks. They are truly exemplars.

    Hopefully, when it comes to such matters as beverage choice, we can learn to see people as people and not assume that they prefer a certain drink merely because they are male or female. A palate is a palate is a palate.

  • Women in Brewing at Stone « She Likes Beer October 13th, 2010 at 1:10 pm

    [...] reading The Beer Wench’s recent blog post about the objectification of women in the beer ad industry, I was put into the super feminist [...]

  • Jessica Brown October 13th, 2010 at 2:08 pm

    Great article!! It’s not just big breweries that objectify women. A loca brewery here in Connecticut has gone from using Thomas Hooker (a religious figure who founded Hartford, CT) into basically just saying “Grab a Hooker.”

    I used to support them, but have stopped because of this change. I’ll include a few links so you can see what I mean.

    See what I mean!! And besides, the “all natural” watermelon ale is pink!!

    Just pointing out that the big breweries don’t have a lock on bad taste.

  • Brewforia October 13th, 2010 at 8:46 pm

    Great post. I’ve long been a critic of so much of the way that beer is marketed. Television ads depicting scantily clad women, men getting kicked in the nads and other sophomoric antics don’t just degrade women but they degrade beer. When you reduce beer to a product that is to be consumed en masse during sporting events, backyard BBQ’s and when getting kicked in the nads then you are doing a great disservice to beer and to humanity as a whole.

    I think the biggest reason we don’t see craft brewers turning to such pathetic advertising tactics is that they aren’t trying to maintain a 50%+ market share. Craft brewers, including Sam Adams know that 1% in our little corner of the bigger beer neighborhood is massive and you don’t need the mindless 19 year old market to be successful. Its only when you try to control a market do you need to appeal to the lowest common denominator.

    What I find most entertaining is that Anheuser Busch and Miller have both recognized this to some extent and shifted a portion of their advertising to focus on things like triple hopping in the case of Miller Lite and Beechwood aging in the case of Budweiser but at the end of the day they still rely on the same sexist, juvenile tactics that got them to where they are today.

  • Wenchie October 13th, 2010 at 11:52 pm

    @Shane — Thank you so much for standing up to your bigot coworkers. I’m really sick of beer being associated with “sexy” half naked women.

  • Wenchie October 13th, 2010 at 11:54 pm

    @Brian (All Over Beer) — Not gonna lie, I was NOT into the Noddy Girls. Understood the concept, but did not like it. One bit. Besides, they knew nothing about craft beer. Ugh. MEN. This world is run by the pen15 club.

  • Wenchie October 13th, 2010 at 11:56 pm

    @Mom — Please don’t tell me which one of our friend’s daughters has sold her soul and her body to corporate beer. The thought makes me sick. Those girls are just one step away from being strippers … and one step away from prostitution. It’s true.

  • Wenchie October 13th, 2010 at 11:58 pm

    @Alex — I agree. Women are also at fault for this. But unfortunately, there is a demand for this. And wherever there is demand, there are many people trying to meet that demand. Money makes the world go round.

  • Ginger Johnson October 14th, 2010 at 8:05 am

    Cheers! Well said – So…along these lines I’d also suggest you change your name from “wench”, which is negative to many women, to something more respectful. Best, Ginger

  • Wenchie October 14th, 2010 at 9:09 am

    @Ginger — Technically speaking, I have redefined what a “wench” is … and I would change it, but I’ve already branded myself as such and it is already who I am known as in the beer community. Sorry!

  • Bill October 15th, 2010 at 4:43 pm

    @Wenchie: “Ugh. MEN.”

    Sexism works both ways, you know.

  • Dan October 18th, 2010 at 11:45 pm

    over 600 examples of sex in advertising – beer and otherwise:

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  • Beer Kristine October 19th, 2010 at 1:46 pm

    @ Jessica Brown…I am absolutely disgusted by that campaign…especially the ad with the Mexico City reporter. The incident involving her was infuriating to me and for a craft beer company to take things one step further by insinuating she was/is a hooker is just too much…looking at that ad transported me to that scene in Scanners (when that dude’s head explodes) and I felt my head would explode. I sent them a message because I believe they should know what is being said about them…perhaps they have a new marketing team or company and that’s why there’s been a change. They need to hear from the female clientele and so they heard from me. In a nutshell I told them their marketing campaign was not only offensive to their female market but it was also alienating. That who ever told them it was a good idea to market their product to the male lowest common denominator needed to be fired. There are so many female craft beer drinkers out there and even more women who make most, if not all, of the food a drink purchases in households. All in all, their marketing shift was a very poor idea and that I, nor my female friends, who are also craft beer drinkers, will be drinking their beer.

  • Beer Kristine October 19th, 2010 at 2:10 pm

    @ The Wench…This is something I feel very strongly about. This type of marketing is offensive and alienating to women. It would seem to be common sense that if you have a product to sell that you’d take care not to offend 50% of the population. The female craft beer drinker isn’t a myth and females are gaining ground in this industry at a rapid rate. If these breweries were at all aware of the larger marketing world they’d realize some of the most prominent craft beer bloggers are in fact, female. The way you market something is as important, if not more so, than the quality of the product. A wise business person would be on the internet searching what people are saying about their product. A wise business person would realize that there are a large portion of craft beer drinkers (and the really passionate ones at that) reading your blog and others and looking to you (collectively speaking) for their next craft beer purchase. A wise business person would realize that they aren’t just alienating the female craft beer drinker but all women…they need to be looking at females making food a drink purchases for their partner, their family, as well as themselves. Women are very often the gatekeepers to the household…if they don’t like your product, you aren’t getting in the door no matter how much Significant Others may beg. Just a quick search on Google reveals “Women dominate consumer goods spending. They are
    responsible for 80% of all purchases and 82% of all consumer
    goods spending” ( I could honestly go on about this for days (well years because I feel that strongly). We as a gender need to vote with our dollars BUT we also need to speak up and start telling these companies what we think.

  • Kristen October 20th, 2010 at 9:51 pm

    I agree wholeheartedly. Unfortunately, it’s a two way street. There’s no real end in sight as there will always be women who are okay with being objectified, and as sex sells for everything else, companies aren’t going to just stop using the marketing technique.

  • How to get women to drink craft beer « The Brew Babes Beer Blog October 26th, 2010 at 3:53 pm

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  • Carla Companion » Bringing women into a craft beer blog’s audience – as people November 8th, 2010 at 11:54 am

    [...] Here’s how I look at it. It isn’t about making the content more accessible but I would say, for lack of a better turn of phrase, make your site “less repelling.” Inevitably, women will come to your site if they’re looking for craft beer content – there is certainly a growing interest, and it is ultimately the content of your site that will bring people to it in the first place. The trick is, how do you keep from turning new visitors off from your content once they get there? If a woman came to a site looking for beer reviews, and then see something that looks like Maxim’s advertisments and has lots of big-breasted women pouring beer (instead of drinking beer) everywher then they will know that the site is “not for them.” It is usually as obvious as that. That doesn’t mean your site has to be adorned with puppies and wallpaper, but maybe it just has to be given a “respect makeover” to demonstrate your support of your entire audience. [See Ashley's great post on rejecting the objectification of women.] [...]

  • Kyle November 8th, 2010 at 12:33 pm

    The difference in ads stems from the products’ intentions.

    Light lagers have nothing to talk about. It’s like asking a paper napkin company to stand out from the competition. I mean, macro beer is just a manufactured item built to spec for an intended purpose. The liquids are no different. Hence, their advertising usually has nothing to do with the product and far more to do with brand strengthening. I liken it to an overzealous teenage girl who just HAS to be followed by 1000 people on Facebook. She needs to build her personal brand to appeal to the largest audience.

    Craft beer celebrates diversity and complexity, which isn’t the path of mass production, it’s the path of the artisan. And, given how awesome it is that tons of craft beers are produced by hand, and are a genuine reflection of the people at the helm, craft can stand simply on the merits of the liquid. In a sense, it’s something real. So, craft beer ads are usually about the product itself and don’t need kneejerk ads to increase sales. Also, the craft market is steadily growing, so brewers aren’t really fighting violently in the ad world for for a slice of a largely spoken-for pie, as macro lagers are.

    I don’t look at raunchy ads so much as an issue of feminism but of stagnance and complacency. Life is change, and many of these macro products haven’t changed in a very long time. These brands are dying giants in a very real sense. They don’t have anything new to advertise besides a toilet bowl bottleneck and color changing cans. But, because their only motivating factor is profitability, they still are required to go out and fight with whatever bullshit tools they can think up to grow their share of market. So their ads play off of the genetic makeup of humans.

    People know what macro beers are. They’re everywhere. So they advertise with “primal instinct” triggers like humor and sex to get us to identify with the brands on an emotional level. It’s like McDonald’s featuring salt, sugar, and fat – the key primal instinct ingredients. Everything they produce is based on featuring saltiness, sweetness, or fattiness, or some combination of them, because humans are subconsciously drawn to seek out those things. Beer advertising is no different, they show people having good times, relaxing, appealing women, jokes, and a bevy of other tools in order to lead consumers to identify with the “reasons” people buy their brand.

    Take Miller’s new set of commercials, whose formula features one oddball being ostracized from social settings for drinking the “wrong” beer. Each oddball also features one thing that is socially unacceptable, from the wrong barhopping outfit to the wrong swimwear to, for some inexplicable reason, having his mom sitting a table away as he is out with friends. These messages play off of people’s instinct to belong to a larger group. To me, I don’t buy in to the emotional attachment to a company’s message. But a ton of people do. That’s why ad firms keep generating these types of campaigns.

    So yes, degrading women is bad, but to be honest, most marketing schemes used to advertise macro beers are bad.

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