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“Bye-bye, beer babes”?

September 11th, 2006     by Nicole Cohen     Comments

Heres something exciting: according to the Canadian Press, a Quebec alcohol industry group, Éduc’alcool (which is funded by Quebecs liquor agency), wants beer companies to stop using sexy women in their ads to sell beer.

Im actually pretty amazed to hear an industry group use words like “sexism,” especially when it comes to beer advertising. Beer ads are notorious for their regular, textbook-use of skimpily-dressed women to sell ideas of hetero-sex, popularity and a general good time.

Éduc’alcool apparently wants to adopt a code of ethics that, writes Dene Moore, forbids sexism or the association of products with sexual performance, sexual attraction or popularity any implication that alcoholic products improve physical or intellectual capacities or has health benefits. It bans the use of images of people who look younger than 25 and any that make alcohol particularly attractive to people under 18. And the new rules also forbid excessive discounts or promotions and anything that encourages drinking games or drunkenness.

A panel will be set up to field complaints and make decisions about how to act. Moore writes that in 2004, 230 complaints were made to Advertising Standards Canada about offensive beer ads that were degrading to women. I wonder what came of those complaints?

At the end of the article, someone suggests that the public simply refrain from purchasing beer products that have offensive ads. What do you think? Do we need a group that will monitor this kind of advertising, which many think is harmless, but really presents a distorted and pretty degrading view of what it means to be a woman? Or do we just keep our mouths shut and stop ordering many brands of beer? Im thinking of the frustration Thea felt with those Kokanee ads.

PS: That headline is a quote from the Canadian Press story that ran in the Toronto Star.

Tags: media savvy, news flash

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