“And most important: countless conversations.”
When you think of beer advertising, you think of a group of men crowded around a bar watching sports, chugging a few cold ones down, right? Why is it that the majority of beer advertising is only directed at men, when there is quite a healthy female population of beer drinkers world wide.
When we followed the all-female crew of The Empowerment Project documentary around the US in September 2013, they visited the Heater Allen Brewing in Oregon where they met head brew master Teri Fahrendorf, the first female brew master west of the Rockies. Teri is part of the Pink Boots Society, an organization of female brewers, truck drivers and any female in the beer industry across the US who encourage each other and are giving more visibility to women who work in this field.
Over in Brazil, an activist organization called 65/10 in conjunction with a team of creatives have launched a new beer campaign called ‘Cerveja Feminista‘ which as you guessed it, translates to “feminist beer”.
The campaign is actually designed to tackle the problem of sexism and stereotyping in advertising, which is something we are all familiar with.
U.S. fast-food chain Carl’s Jr., well-known for their overtly sexual advertising featuring female celebs and models scantily clad and eating their burgers in a highly suggestive manner which has been dubbed “slutburger” (because isn’t that what ALL women do while eating burgers?), recently came under fire again for their latest advertisement.
Once again it features a buxom blonde being objectified by the voice-over which ‘cleverly’ uses sexual innuendo to describe the all-natural burger. But in a survey about the ad, Ameritest found that only 27% of testers say the ad would make them visit a Carl’s Jr, down form 43% in previous years, and most importantly, 52% found the ad offensive, and 51% found it irritating and annoying. Duh!
The Cerveja Feminista is challenging the sexism that is rampant in Brazilian advertising, where 65% of women in the country don’t see themselves portrayed in advertising. That is where the “65” in the 65/10 name comes from. The “10” number represents the low percentage of Brazilian women who are creatives in advertising agencies.
Advertising creatives Larissa Vaz, Maria Guimaraes, and Thais Fabris joined together to form the creative activism agency “65/10” with an aspiration to change the existing ratio.
According to a press release shared by website PSFK, the women acknowledge that giving a beer a feminist label doesn’t actually make it feminist, but they plan to back it up with action and content.
“Brazilian advertisers must take responsibility and know that portraying women as objects endorses men to think of females as a possession, and ultimately leads to violence. In fact, a woman is killed every 90 minutes in Brazil due to domestic violence,” they write.
“The most important message we are trying to share is that people who work in advertising must know that the effects of the messages we create go way beyond driving sales, they drive behavior. We believe changing the way women are portrayed in media and advertising is an important step.” –Thais Fabris, co-founder, 65/10
They have chosen specific labels within this advertising to signify elements of feminism:
Beer Choice – An Irish red ale was selected for its color. Red is a symbolic color for social causes.
Mixed Team – The creators are a team of males and females. They chose to include both genders because they believe feminism is about gender equality.
Labeling – Besides the word “feminist,” the labeling includes a symbol that is a hybrid of traditional gender symbols to remind people that feminism is about gender equality and should not exclude men from the conversation. It is also there to remind people that beer is intended to be consumed by both women and men. Labels will also include some information about feminism intended to dispel any widely held myths.
On their Facebook page which is all in Portuguese (but thank goodness for the “translate” option) they shared information about a survey of 100 students from one of the largest advertising schools in Sao Paolo where the overwhelming majority said they want to see an even 50/50 split of male-female creatives in the industry.
They also share where they got their feminist ideals from: Nigerian author Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie who has made it clear why she advocates feminism rather than just human rights in general.
“Some people ask me: Why do we use the word feminist? Why not say that you believe in human rights or something? Because that would be dishonest. Feminism is, of course, part of human rights in general—but to choose ‘human rights’ is to deny the specificity and nature of the problem of gender. It would be a way to pretend that women were not excluded over the centuries. It would be to deny that the issue of gender is targeting women. The problem is not a human being, but specifically a human being female. For centuries, humans were divided into two groups, one of which excluded and oppressed the other. It is at the very least fair to say that the solution to this problem is in the recognition of this fact.”
The group says they don’t necessarily want to profit from the sale of this beer—more than anything they want to start a conversation, challenge the existing stereotype portrayals of men and women in advertising, and hopefully force change in the beer industry where we begin to see advertising portray just as many women at the table and at the bar as men.
“Media shapes how society sees itself,” says Fabris. “If we can stop advertising that stereotypes women, we are changing an important part of our culture. It does not solve all the problem of machismo, of course—it has very deep roots in our culture. But it is one less part of this culture enabling this behavior, and that is a really important step.”
The Cerveja Feminista is still in the early stages of roll out but the 65/10 group is also planning to launch events where creatives from all across the advertising industry in Brazil can come and sit at the table (and drink a few feminist beers?) and discuss how they can collectively tackle sexism in advertising. Cheers to a great way to break down stereotypes!