In Which Dewar’s Responds to Our Post on Its Sexist Ad Controversy

Yesterday we posted on an ad for Dewar’s Scotch that we found particularly annoying for its ridiculously obvious sexism; the fact that Business Insider later reported on the same story shows you that it got some traction in the old “mainstream media”. The brand has since removed the clip from YouTube in response to the uproar (which we attribute primarily to this great post by travel writer and whiskey specialist Fred Minnick).

To summarize: the “Baron” character in the ad was such a solid bro that he stepped in front of the unattractive woman approaching his friend at a bar; the voiceover copy portrayed that selfless act as the equivalent of “throwing himself on the explosives” to save the other guy. (For reference, urban dictionary and Jersey Shore’s “The Situation” define “grenades” and “land mines” as varieties of undesirable women, because ewww.)

We didn’t really expect a direct response to the post, but we got one courtesy of Dewar’s and PR AOR Nike Communications. Read it after the jump.

Dear Patrick,

In response to your article regarding the DEWAR’S “Meet the Baron” video, we value your feedback, whether it’s critical or complimentary, and appreciate your comments.

While we strive to be inclusive of many demographics, we have a wide array of consumers who respond to a variety of unique and focused marketing messages, in different ways.

The Baron – represents a camaraderie that is important to our target consumer, and is one character under ‘The Drinking Man’s Scotch’ campaign, which features a strong and successful female icon as the spokesperson for the brand.

We understand our promotions may not always appeal to everyone; however, it is your feedback that allows us to continuously evaluate our marketing efforts – upon further review we have decided to remove the video from our YouTube page.

Again, thank you for your inquiry.

Best regards,

The Dewar’s Team

This reads like a satisfactory damage control message; the company sent Minnick the same email and told its Twitter followers that it appreciated the feedback.

At the same time, we have to wonder why the company didn’t see this coming. We do appreciate the challenges of appealing to disparate and at times oppositional demographics, but the idea of positioning a “strong and successful female icon”—not to mention a Swedish bikini team—as idealistic alternatives to a real-world person is a great way to alienate half of your audience.

What do we think of this response?

(To Dewar’s credit, most of the ads in the recent series aren’t so bad. This one, featuring a Charles Bukowski voiceover, is much better.)

@PatrickCoffee Patrick Coffee is a senior editor for Adweek.
Publish date: December 11, 2013 © 2020 Adweek, LLC. - All Rights Reserved and NOT FOR REPRINT