Seven hours after my blog post, Dewar’s Sexist ‘Meet the Baron’ Ad Degrades Women, Puts Whisky Industry at Risk, Dewar’s Tweeted: “We appreciate the comments regarding ‘The Baron’ from all who spoke up: your feedback allows us to continuously evaluate what we do.”
Dewar’s brand team wrote me as well:
Thank you for your recent comment regarding the DEWAR’S ‘Meet the Baron’ video. We value your feedback, whether it’s critical or complimentary, and appreciate your effort in taking the time to write to us.
While we strive to be inclusive of many demographics, we have a wide array of consumers who respond to a variety of unique and focused marketing messages, in different ways.
The Baron – represents a camaraderie that is important to our target consumer, and is one character under ‘The Drinking Man’s Scotch’ campaign, which features a strong and successful female icon as the spokesperson for the brand.
We understand our promotions may not always appeal to everyone; however, it is feedback like yours that allows us to continuously evaluate our marketing efforts – upon further review we have decided to remove the video from our YouTube page.
Again, thank you for taking the time to write to us.
I applaud Dewar’s for taking this first step. But, unlike the Maker’s Mark proof debacle, this whisky PR snafu actually hurt people. Women have come too far in this business–Dewar’s master blender Stephanie J. Macleod, for example–to be degraded. The ad went far beyond the typical sexism discussions. Women in bikinis is one thing, but This Huffington Post writer even questioned the ad’s impact on rape.
While you may not agree with my argument or the HuffPo writer’s, the fact remains: There are droves of organizations who blame alcohol for America’s problems. And there are currently alcohol advertising legislations bans (see this story for an example) being debated all over the world. If companies are not responsible with their advertisements and do not follow the existing DISCUS Code of Responsible Practices, alcohol companies will find themselves in the same crosshairs as those who pursued tobacco legislation.
As for Dewar’s, I hope they practice responsible marketing, but I won’t ask for an apology. Their taking the commercial off YouTube and other venues speaks louder than words.