With the advent of International Women’s Day, many companies will be bringing out twee pink items to jump on the trend, and at first glance Brewdog were just the latest in a long line. This afternoon, a “beer for girls” Pink IPA was launched and garnered much criticism. But the campaign is actually a lot more meaningful than it seems at first glance.
Brewdog Pink IPA is a promotional version of their signature Punk IPA with a pink label. Typical marketing guff right? Wrong.
Where many companies would end their International Womens Day marketing with the pink product, Brewdog have gone one step further. It’s not just selling ‘beer for girls’, it’s making a monetary contribution towards women and women’s charities, making a stand for equality. Alongside using the stereotypical ‘pink is for girls’ marketing trope sarcastically, Brewdog are charging all female identifying folk 20% less than their male counterparts for their beer, to reflect the gender pay gap, as well as donating 20% of all Pink IPA sales to women’s charities.
“Brewdog are taking the ridiculous stereotype of ‘pink is for girls’ and holding it up to be mocked.”
Feminists, women, and female-identifying folk alike are sick of being marketed to on the basis of their gender (and rightly so), particularly when brands simply re-package existing products in pink (extra soft pink ‘Bic for Her’ pens, anyone?). But this is not the case with Brewdog. They’re taking the ridiculous stereotype of ‘pink is for girls’ and holding it up to be mocked. And, better still, they’re putting their money where their mouth is – not only are they altering their prices to reflect the gender pay gap, but they’re also donating profits to charity.
Yes, of course it’s still a marketing ploy. Yes, of course they could just as easily have donated the money they spent on the campaign to charities. But Brewdog are a business and at the end of the day, selling beer is what they do – but in this case, some of the money from selling that beer will be going to important causes.
The problem with viral campaigns such as this is that nuance and sarcasm don’t always translate straight away. Although Brewdog clearly explained their campaign in a blog post, the strap line “beer for girls” was immediately jumped on by people who didn’t click through to the link. Indeed, Brewdog should have thought more carefully about how their campaign could be interpreted, and should have left no room for confusion.
“Their execution could have been a little clearer… many people have interpreted the campaign as a poorly thought out sexist joke.”
When it comes to social media marketing, brands need to be clear and precise as possible, and whilst Brewdog’s heart was undoubtedly in the right place, their execution could have been a little clearer. Even with the #sarcasm, many people have interpreted the campaign as a poorly thought out sexist joke. And that’s without even touching upon the fact that it’s women — not girls — that drink beer.
But this doesn’t take away from the fact that Brewdog are raising money for great causes and getting people talking about International Women’s Day and the gender pay gap. We’re always wanting companies co-opting feminism to put their money where their mouths are and Brewdog are doing just that.