The Product That Sells Itself
Style, ambition, talent, education, a killer work ethic and looks to match – these are just some of the things that make up The Threaded Woman. She is practically no different from The Threaded Man. So, as an advertiser, why wouldn’t you want to sell beer to this woman?
In an ideal world, for my friends and me at least, an advert featuring women like Nomuzi Mabena or Roxy Burger hosting a girl’s night in would show their friends arriving carrying six packs of beer for a change, instead of showing up with bottles of wine. Now don’t get me wrong, I am the biggest wine aficionado you could ever meet but even I know that women do not exclusively drink wine, in the same way that men do not only drink beer.
As a journalist and aspiring Threaded Woman, I have acquired a diverse group of friends over the years and our countless nights out have shown me that women (young and old) genuinely enjoy a good beer. From Carling Black Label, and now Blue Label Beer, to Castle, Hansa and the countless craft beers on sale at our favourite haunts, my friends’ taste in beer is as diverse as they are.
That begs the question, will advertisers ever break the stereotypical (read: patriarchal) mould when selling beer?
When I was in high school, I used to think that beer was a man’s drink and I used to find it very unbecoming for women to drink beer. This was because the ads I saw often featured men in the forefront and spoke solely to men, while women merely functioned as seductive props or extras. These women were sometimes given a beer to hold but that’s about it.
Now that I am all grown up, nothing seems to have changed in beer ads. Unless the drink is pink or plum, alcohol is advertised with men in mind. Case in point: Carling Black Label actually refers to their beer as a refreshing reward for MEN at the end of a hard day. Come to think of it, there are rarely any women in the ads, and still, beer remains the first choice for many of my friends.
The most recent Castle ad is another example. It features four men travelling across Africa in search of another man by using his favourite beer to lure him. Even ads for ciders – which are thought to be women’s drinks – feature men at the forefront. Just think of Thapelo Mokoena in the Hunters Dry ads or Kagiso Lediga and his band of merry comedians in every Savannah ad. Compare the magnitude of their male presence with the number of women in your life that consume the very beverages that they are advertising.
Global trends have seen the rise of feminist beer in South America and a beer festival titled FemALE aimed at celebrating female brewers in Europe. So, the question remains, when will South Africa catch up?
Written by Kay Tatyana Selisho