Many years ago, I wrote to Carlton United Breweries asking why they never showed women drinking beer in their ads. I pointed out that I and my friends were all professional women with good jobs, well-travelled, politically interested… and we all drank beer. Why then were we so grossly excluded from their ads?
It’s very common to see women in ads for beer; they can open a bottle in a suggestive way, they can be shown to be shrewish harridans, they can help to make it, they can even be in the background holding a beer. But they can never, under any circumstances, be seen to actually be drinking a beer.
Imagine my delight when, at the movies last night, this ad for Tsing Tao beer featured a) a woman playing sport competitively (and sexily, obvs) AND b) drinking beer!
The ad stars a couple of UK models/actors I’ve never heard of and is apparently supposed to “convey the excitement of the upcoming Dragon Ping Pong events taking place across the UK.” Whatever. WOMAN DRINKING BEER! Win!
ps – Some marketing guy from Carlton United Breweries ended up phoning me and saying that my letter was ‘a real cracker’ and it was something they were definitely looking into. That was 2002. Last time I checked, still no women drinking beer in CUB ads.