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April 28, 2003

COMMENT: Interbrew’s less laddish larger

Using 'lager lad' advertising for beer may be hampering the growth prospects of this market. By encouraging other manufacturers to use a genderless marketing approach, Interbrew hopes that beer can shake off its male-orientated image.

Using ‘lager lad’ advertising for beer may be hampering the growth prospects of this market. By encouraging other manufacturers to use a genderless marketing approach, Interbrew hopes that beer can shake off its male-orientated image. However beer companies will have to be careful that they do not over-feminise traditionally ‘male’ brands and thereby alienate core consumers.


The drinks company Interbrew has called for a move away from beer’s ‘lager lad’ image because it can put women off the drink. Instead, Interbrew is advocating genderless advertising in the hope that it will encourage increased female consumption of beer.


Advertising used by brands such as Fosters and Carlsberg typify the traditionally ‘blokish’ image that beer has cultivated among drinkers. But promoting beer on the platform of having a laugh at women’s expense may be missing a trick.


Women have become an increasingly important consumer group for drinks companies to target, driven by the increased economic and social status of women and the increased fashionability of alcohol consumption among females.


However, it is wine and premium packaged spirits that have benefited most from the increased female consumption of alcohol. In the UK, beer sales have been losing out to sales of spirits and wine, hence the call for a new way to promote beer.


Interbrew believes that selling beer to women will be the key growth driver of the UK beer market and it is asking for a united approach among rival companies. The company is clearly hoping that beer suppliers can demasculinise the overall image of beer through a coordinated effort.


The company has already been actively ensuring a more genderless advertising approach with many of its brands, such as Boddingtons and Stella Artois.


The growth of brands that strongly appeal to women, such as Bacardi Breezer and Smirnoff Ice, demonstrate the potential of targeting female drinkers. Although beer remains the most popular alcoholic drink in the UK, Interbrew is keen to not rest on its laurels.


However, beer companies will also have to be careful that they do not over-feminize traditionally ‘male’ brands, thereby alienating core consumers.


Related research: Datamonitor, “Alcoholic drinks: Targeting the Female Market ” (DMCG1790)

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