Does Marketing Wine Need to be Gender Specific?
Granted, being a man, I am maybe not the most convincing authority on the matter of marketing to women. With that caveat out of the way, the issue of gender specific marketing is hardly a new one. Think back to Hungry Man Frozen Diners or Secret Deodorant (“strong enough for a man, but made for a woman”), or even further back to the dawning of the advertising age when taking pot shots at gender stereotypes (and more specifically women) was de rigueur, and you will be assured that selling and marketing uniquely to men and women is something tried, and sometimes true. So why should we care about one of the newest developments, wine for women?
Well if you were to ask me, I think any gender specific marketing is, for lack of a better qualifier, kind of stupid. And the new development in the market with the release of SkinnyGirl Wines and Happy Bitch Wines (believe it or not these are two competing products from two totally separate companies) shows just how cynical marketers can be. The names alone should be enough to make you roll your eyes and express an involuntary hiss of air from your lungs, but no, we must dig deeper.
According to a press release, star of the reality TV show Real Housewives, Bethany Frankel (admittedly, I only have a vague knowledge of who she is) is set to launch her own wine label aimed at women who drink, but are also weight conscious, called SkinnyGirl Wines. There is already a SkinnyGirl line of premixed cocktails (Sangria, Margarita, and White Cranberry Cosmo), all of which are relatively low calorie alternatives to the real thing, and now the SkinnyGirl label is venturing into the realm of the grape with low calorie wines with an emphasis on “fun.”
Next up comes directly from a press release I received earlier in the week from something called Happy Bitch wines (I see a pattern here – women can choose to be bitches or skinny). From the press release there is little information about the provenance of their “lively chardonnay/pinot noir blend” but if you “like” the company on Facebook you will be awarded a pair of “hot pink Happy Bitch branded thongs” to add to your wardrobe.
Hey, I am not in opposition to “fun” but I do find that the emphasis of fun over quality in the marketing to women to be somewhat insulting. I figure wine drinkers are wine drinkers because of the distinction of their palate, not their gender. This sort of cynical pandering to gender stereotypes is certainly not the worst crime committed by marketers (that prize may go to a particular brand of beer which uses chromatic ink to let the prospective drinker that their beer is, in fact, cold) but it feels utterly unnecessary and condescending.
What is your read on this blip of a trend in gender marketing? Is it just good clean fun, or something truly objectionable?