Blame John… and the rest of your marketing department

This morning Melissa Cole drew our attention to this new advertising campaign by Manchester-based brewery, JW Lees.


Screengrab taken morning of 5/11/14

Where do I begin? The assumption that only men drink beer? That women are shrieking harridans who prevent men from going out for a drink with their friends? Or that men are untrustworthy louts who lie to get their own way? You get the picture.

When I see things like this, I seriously cannot believe that we still live in a world where enough people thought this was a decent enough idea to go ahead with it. The attempt to push it on social media with a hashtag is even more offensive. Let’s spread the casual sexism and give it some real exposure. Fantastic. I know you’ve been around since the early nineteenth century, JW Lees, but what century do you think it is now?!

What baffles me the most about sexism in beer marketing is that breweries continue to alienate potential female customers. Yes, we know that there are a lot of women beer drinkers (and indeed brewers, sommeliers and writers) who will merely roll their eyes at this and move on to their next pint, but I’m not talking about them. Marketing like this solidifies the incorrect stereotype that beer is a man’s drink, and many women will continue to live in ignorance of beer’s fabulousness if we don’t remove barriers to entry. Women bombarded by this kind of bullshit may never build the confidence to go up to the bar and ask for a pint, even if they wanted to.

I #BlameJohn, and whoever else came up with this shit idea.

– PS


7 thoughts on “Blame John… and the rest of your marketing department

  1. Sam

    Funnily enough, though, the campaign had been live for a good few weeks and no one cared. One nod from Melissa and suddenly everyone’s competing to show more outrage than the last person.

    1. icipints Post author

      Given that it was a northern brewery without a lot of reach down here where there is a higher concentration of beer writers, it’s not really surprising that we didn’t hear about it from the outset. Don’t really see what point you’re making – it would have pissed me off whenever I’d heard about it, and I still think it’s important to point out its blatant sexism even if it is a few weeks old.

  2. Chris

    The only women who would be alienated by this sort of thing are weak, cowardly ones. Normal people just go about their business and don’t worry about what some advert says.

    1. icipints Post author

      Who are you to tell women what to think? Who are you to label women with such negative and derogatory labels just because they do not agree with you?

      As we said in the post, for a lot of women, this won’t change their relationship with beer. But it’s ignorant to think that continuing to perpetuate a myth that only men drink beer will not affect some women. It also negatively stereotypes men as useless lying dossers down the pub who do not care about the feelings of their partners which is lazy and outdated. You may not care about being stereotyped but a lot of men and women do.

  3. danny

    Like those above have stated, I think this is a whole lot of nothing here. I think that the insecure and cowardly women are the only ones who would feel the need to make a big deal. It’s not the best advert but it’s hardly offensive.

    1. icipints Post author

      I disagree entirely. This is just one piece of the overall puzzle of sexism and inequality in the beer industry and in society at large and attitudes will not change until we begin to challenge every lazy, negative stereotype.

      Like Chris above you in the comments you are saddling people with harsh, derogatory labels just because they have taken offense at something you haven’t. As we have already said – a lot of women have laughed this off, and I certainly could have just rolled my eyes and ordered another pint, but that’s not the point. I am thinking of women who don’t order pints, who stick to the wine because advertising like this drums into them that beer is not for them, so they have never tried it.

      Just for the record, I made a big deal of this, and I am not insecure or cowardly – I’m just pissed off and sick to the back teeth of sexism everywhere I look. If you’d like to hit me with any more personal insults instead of engaging in a debate, that’s your prerogative, but you’re not making the misogyny brigade and sexism-deniers look any better.

  4. martin mansplainer

    Stupid decision, can’t believe nobody questioned it. I see that and think ‘not for me’: that entire breweries output is obviously not for people like me and they seemingly don’t give a toss. Alienating of a HUGE section of the population. Just when we get excited that real ale is finding an ever-wider audience stunts like put generations off.


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