Major Beer Brands Appeal To Growing Female Consumer Base With These Commercials

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If you close your eyes and think of a stereotypical or iconic beer commercial, there’s a good chance you won’t conjure up images of powerful women enjoying a cold one. Or if you DO think of women, perhaps they are the sexy eye candy amongst a bevvy of male drinkers who “personify” beer drinking in America today.

But step away from the beer marketing you see on TV, on billboards or online, and the picture you get is very different. Venture into bars, restaurants, parties, BBQs etc and you won’t see anything “stereotypical” about gender drinking habits. There are more women drinking beer now than ever before, and it’s about time advertisements starting reflecting this and marketing to their growing consumer base.

According to recent data found by market research firm Ipsos, women now make up 25% of the beer drinking population, up from around 20% in previous estimates, and certain brands are taking notice of this. MillerCoors CFO David Kroll expressed to the New York Times why their direction in marketing needs to change.

“It’s disappointing that we weren’t speaking to women,” he said.

One of the main reasons brands like Coors Light and Bud Light are shifting direction is because of millennial drinking habits. Craft beer sales were up to 10% in 2015, and spirits and wine have been eating away at big beer market share since 2002, according to the Times.

“It was fine to show a frat party making fun of girls five or eight years ago. But it’s ineffective and potentially damaging to do today,” said Allen Adamson, former chairman of brand consulting firm Landor Associates.

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There seems to be an industry-wide recognition of the evolving consumer base which is now being shown in more recent advertising campaigns.

“The thought of being fully inclusive to women, when you speak to millennials, they’re like, ‘Yeah, duh’. In some respects, beer is just catching up to the millennial mind-set,” said David Kroll.

Britt Dougherty, MillerCoors’s senior director of marketing insights says beer brands haven’t done a good enough job of being inclusive, however.

“It takes time to undo that baggage. We’ve represented a version of masculinity that wasn’t appealing to women,” she said.

Where they have failed, craft beer companies have swooped in and taken advantage of big beer’s “ignorance”. According to Brewers Association, women consumed 30% of the craft beer on the market in 2014.

While industry insiders wring their hands over change in demographics and data, all they need to do is talk to the women who are buying beer. Blogger Jackie Dodd, who writes at The Beeroness says craft beer brands and breweries have always been a more gender neutral space from the beginning, and bigger brands would do well to take notice of their strategy.

“I don’t think craft beer ever marketed towards women, they just valued them and that conveyed. I’m not sure macro can do that, or even knows how. But if they can, more power to them,” she told the Times.

She does make a great point about not being so gender-specific or gender-segregated in advertising or marketing. When a brand is inclusive from the beginning, it doesn’t need to resort to cheap tricks or gimmicks to increase its demographic.

A good example of how this can fail is Bud Light’s “up for whatever” commercial from 2015 which played into the dangerous message of rape culture. The idea of “no means yes” was extremely bad timing, especially given the epidemic of rape and sexual assault incidents happening on college campuses around the country.

Given this new data a few of the major brands have recently released videos that reflect what they want to achieve going forward. Coors Light decided to make their message heard loud and clear by unveiling a new ad during the Super Bowl broadcast, portraying both men and women scaling mountains, boxing, running and drinking together – as equals.

They weren’t the only ones to take advantage of the Super Bowl platform. Bud Light featured a commercial with comedians Amy Schumer, Seth Rogen and Paul Rudd, while Budweiser featured a responsible drinking commercial starring British actress Helen Mirren.

Other beer brands which have tried to market to women include Heineken, who released a series of videos appealing to the more moderate female drinker by portraying women walking away from clearly drunk men while Bonnie Tyler’s ‘I Need A Hero’ plays in the background.

In Brazil, an activist organization created a limited edition craft beer range called “Cerveja Feminista” in an attempt to break down stereotypes and sexism toward women in advertising. While we see the need for the big brands to lead the way on this, which is a good thing Bud Light and Coors Light are finally on board, perhaps it is the smaller micro-breweries who are actually forging ahead by proving they understand millennials and the need to eliminate gender-based marketing of their products.

Going forward, we’d be willing to bet that when you close your eyes and think of a typical beer commercial, it won’t just be images of Mike Ditka, Clydesdale or football parties you see. We hope to see more commercials representing the millions of women who like to drink beer (responsibly, of course) and not be patronized or stereotyped.

You can watch the Bud Light and Budweiser videos below:


 

 

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