One of our much-loved clients makes work boots – really exceptional work boots. They also make work boots for women, specifically designed around the shape of a woman’s foot, which would seem obvious but apparently isn’t. Instead, their competitors often simply, as they put it, ‘shrink it and pink it’, turning man boot to girly boot with the twirl of some well chosen laces.
I love this phrase and have taken it to my heart, as a much more elegant way of calling out brands for riding the coattails of female fed-upness by ‘fem-badging’. And girl-oh-girl, have we seen some shocking fem-badging recently.
You would think brands would have learned the lesson from Bic for Her. But no, only last week, the sensual spirit sippers amongst us were squealing with delight at the launch of Jane Walker – finally, a whisky for the girls, complete with totally made-up, sexily clad woman on the front of the box. How refreshing!
…Or depressingly familiar?
Diageo claim they are doing their bit for gender equality but – come on! – the target for this booty bottle isn’t women. If they really cared about gender equality, they could have championed Elizabeth Walker, who worked alongside Jonny in their shop, or Elizabeth Cumming, who sold him the damn distillery in the first place. But I presume they didn’t look so good in thigh-length leather boots.
Now, none of this is anything new. But what’s so tiring is that brands like Diageo genuinely think they’re ‘joining a movement’ with women at its heart. #MeToo, This Girl Can, and now… Jane Walker! You can picture the marketing team meeting ‘We need to champion Women. Let’s make a product just for girls!’.
This is a world full of pitfalls, as Brewdog have shown just this week with their latest marketing stunt, ‘Pink IPA, Beer for Girls’. Ostensibly designed to highlight marketing stereotyping and pay inequality for women, its uninspiring execution has drawn derision. Really, the best you could do was to make the bottle pink? As one blogger commented ‘If you have to explain the joke, then it’s probably not a very good joke’.
Wiper & True, on the other hand, have nailed it. Their campaign titled: ‘XX brew: a celebration of the role of women in the world of beer’ is completely refreshing, in both ethos and taste, and has been well-received by our team. The ‘XX brew’ – made by women, for everyone, celebrates the fact that women brew, promote, distribute, drink, critique and enjoy beer. Check out the video here.
Every day at Mr B & Friends, we champion gender equality, but on this International Women’s Day, please indulge me in celebrating our talented ladies, who stand together against ‘shrinking it and pinking it’. 💪
Sheena Mistry, Design Director
Holly Lampe, Art Director
Harriet Whitehorne, Head of Copy and Content
Rosie Bridson, Junior Designer
Sara Foley, Middleweight Designer
Louise Lepic, Creative Artworker and Animator
Amy Osborne – Business Development Manager
Aphra Kiely – Digital Project Manager
Evie Grove – Account Executive
Georgia Adsett – Junior Planner
Had Armitstead – Account Director
Hannah Tinkler – Web Developer
Hayley Devane – Office Manager
Jen Neville – Senior Account Manager
Katie Lax – PA & Office Manager Assistant
Lisa Carter – Account Manager
Monika Lucas – Finance Manager
Nic Jarvie – Account Director
Sarah Dennis – Marketing Manager
Sarah Papworth – Receptionist
Sophie Kemp – Account Manager
Kate Sikora – Client Success Director