Pour Me Another! Beer for Women (and Pay Equality)

If it takes brewed strength to get pay equality – then so be it.

BrewDog Releases Pink IPA to Support Pay Equality – People Get Very Angry When Talking About Paying Women Equally

In a very thoughtful and well-intentioned campaign, BrewDog UK, a Scottish craft brewery released their flagship ‘Punk IPA’ as a ‘Pink IPA’. There is no sarcasm in that last sentence, unlike their campaign. Their campaign was laden with sarcasm so loud that it broke Twitter. First, let’s look at BrewDog’s campaign with the attention it’s due.

BrewDog UK’s Pink IPA Campaign

BrewDog crafted this campaign with the intention of bringing light to the huge pay discrepancy in the UK. On average in the UK, men are paid 20% more than women. To start the campaign, BrewDog announced a four week sales period in which they will be selling the Pink IPA. The sales are to start this Thursday, March 8 in honor of International Women’s Day.  With the initial announcement of the campaign, they clarified the following:

  • the campaign was created with lots of satire and sarcasm
  • the beer is no different – they are swapping out the Punk IPA label for Pink IPA because they acknowledge that women like it as-is
  • 20% of the proceeds (a number to honor the pay gap) of sales from both the Punk IPA and Pink IPA will be donated to charities that support women and fight inequalities
  • any one who identifies as female will be able to buy the Pink IPA in BrewDog bars for 20% less
  • it’s lazy to market to women with pink and ‘pink’ and sparkly

Like the hoppiness of IPA, some people just can’t sit with the taste of sarcasm.

People Were Very Angry to Talk About Pay Equality & Pink Things

Cue the Twitter rants and social media implosions. This campaign was hotly debated and much less thoroughly read. Across Twitter, facebook, and reporting sites that have names ending with words like “Daily” or “Enquirer” people responded very angrily with the main complaints being:

  • the campaign was poorly researched
  • people ‘don’t like sarcasm’
  • they shouldn’t have used the color pink because women don’t actually like pink
  • it’s just a marketing stunt and they just want to break into the women’s market because it’s a cash cow (it really is, despite this awful wage gaps and pink taxes women have a huge amount of capital)
  • didn’t they see the Doritos???

It was very clear that the majority of the people reacting had not read the intentions clearly written by BrewDog UK. Or they don’t realize that companies who they buy from every day actually patronize women AND instead of giving them discounts charge them more. The table of people in the BrewDog UK marketing meetings said the opposite of ‘shrink it and pink it’. And their campaign did too. The only thing they could’ve done better would be to shrink the bottles – but then we’d just be getting less beer.

Cheers, BrewDog

BrewDog also released a wonderfully put statement here in reaction to the reaction to their Pink IPA campaign: https://www.brewdog.com/lowdown/blog/pink-again

What do you all think? Was BrewDog’s campaign a hit or miss?

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