Wednesday, June 10, 2009

I think it's gross, but most women don't.

For some reason, I've been paying a lot more to advertisements lately. Dan and I have a habit of making fun of them, particularly TV commercials, pointing out the messages they're not-so-subtly conveying - men are stupid/incompetent, women like shoes (and yogurt!), buying a Prius will make everything look like blooming gardens, it'll make you poop (and look like those women)! You know, stuff like that. Maybe it's because we're watching more actual broadcast TV now that we have cable and I'm noticing stuff. Maybe it's because I've never given much thought to marketing or advertising or branding and I'm really thinking about it these days because of my flower venture.

Last night I was watching commercial after commercial try to sell beer. But none of them try to sell beer to women. After a while, I tried to think of a TV commercial or print advertisement that marketed beer to women, and couldn't remember a single instance. Yet of my friends, I know that most of the women I know who drink like beer just as much as anything else, if not more. So what gives, beer companies? Why ignore a huge portion of potential market share? It seems to me that it's an example of a company shooting itself in the foot - I mean, instead of competing with all the other beer companies for men's money, why not try to sell your beer to women? It can't be a holdover from prohibition or a "women don't drink" mentality, because wine is pretty much marketed equally to men and women. The same for hard alcohol (what advertisments I've seen, anyway; it's rare to see the hard stuff advertised). Even the flavored malt beverages like Smirnoff Ice and Mike's Hard Lemonade are pushed at both sexes. What makes beer something that only men should want to buy?

Riddle me this, internet. Why don't beer companies want women to buy beer? Why are seemingly all ads for beer marketed toward men, with the scantily clad women and the cars and the men screaming at a walk-in refrigerator full of Heineken? Why don't the beer companies want me to be a beer drinker? I'm not a fan of beer, but that has nothing to do with advertisement and everything to do with having tried beer on multiple occasions and just not liking it.


Monkey McWearingChaps said...

My first thought was that it would cost too much money to successfully rebrand and you run into the problem of having mixed message advertising out at the same time (low brow aimed at men, more women friendly advertising) which I gather is something of a no no because you risk losing a core constituency. I guess they'd have to weigh it against how many women are so brand loyal to a particular beer or are providing input into purchasing decisions regarding beer that it would be worth designing a separate marketing campaign (with the potential of undercutting their sales from the more reliable beer market) to lure them over to the brand of beer being advertised.

Maybe the marketing is more gender neutral in places where beer is seen as a general cultural phenomenon rather than a "man's" drink.

I suspect most of these decisions on marketing campaigns come down to their assumptions/studies about who is standing in line at the grocery store paying up and/or influencing the purchasing decision. I suspect that I am in that vast group of average female consumers who may be more brand loyal about yoghurt and shoes (though I don't wear grey hoodies nor do I have a masters) than I am or ever will be about beer.

tmjackson said...

Hmm. This is an interesting thought. I am a woman, I like beer more than other alcohols, and I am brand loyal. Taste is important.

I started wondering what beer ads aimed at women would look like, and I promptly got annoyed, because too often, ads aimed at women specifically tend to be rather insulting. I don't want to see beer ads all done in pink or talking about how it won't make you fat. I've always found beer ads generally funny, whether or not they are aimed at men and selling sex.

This led to some rather uncomfortable thoughts on how it's okay to be masculine, how things aimed at men are often so funny (Maxim and are both hilarious), while things aimed at women have a negative taint (I hate the terms "chick flick" and "chick lit" with a passion). Apparently, I'm sexist, too.

So bring it on, beer companies! Prove me wrong! Help take gender equality into the 21st century!

Cagey (Kelli Oliver George) said...

Perhaps, women have better taste in beer and would not be caught dead drinking some of the dreck advertised. Women, it seems, prefer a craft beer, brewed in smaller quantities and not subject to commercials featuring cheap sex and scantily clad women.

Yeah, I bet that is it.

Yank In Texas said...

Actually, quite a few of the light beers seem to be at least half aimed at women. (At least one of the Miller Lite commercials is.) But then again, while a lot of women do drink beer, it's still considered really girly to do mixed drinks. I like Cagey's theory though. Makes sense to me.