Monday, December 9, 2013

GUEST BLOGGER GRAHAM MACKENNEY: Dewar's - Sophisticated failure

It is with the greatest pleasure and pride that I introduce Graham MacKenney. He is my husband, my partner and one of my biggest supporters. For those of you that didn't know, Graham is coming out of hiatus because of something that happened on twitter today:  Monday December 9th. Ladies & Gentlemen: "Sophisticated Failure" 

I admire those people who have the conviction to stand up for a cause or who persistently shout their convictions to the masses. I admire them regardless of whether I share their beliefs or not. Nelson Mandela I am not, and I am ok with that. Along the same line I tend to be more of a social media “creeper” than a social media contributor. I just don’t feel that I have that much to say, which will sound odd to those who know me and have accidentally got me talking about whisky or sailing…#trapped.

Lately I have been watching with interest as those in the social media whisky world have been speaking out against inappropriate sexist
How do some advertisers fit their own
head so far up their own butt?

advertising in whisky. In fact, the catalyst for this little piece of commentary was a series of tweets among Canadian whisky bloggers (admittedly one of these was my better half @whiskylassie) and what seems to be the official twitter account for Dewar's Whisky USA (@Dewars). The basic argument against Dewars is that their advertising (Meet the Baron ad) concerning “the Drinking Man” is inappropriate and sexist, especially concerning one particular ad where The Baron acts as the perfect wingman and “takes one for the team.” 

First and foremost I agree that this type of advertising is inappropriate and really doesn’t belong in any modern society. The Drinking Man’s message is one of a day long gone by. Second, I truly believe that the types of people who are rallying against these ads are not the people that the ads are designed for to begin with. Those that are speaking out against the ads are connoisseurs, sophisticated in their tastes, intelligent and certainly able to see through the thin veil that this advertising throws. 

On the other hand, a closer look at the ad reveals the type of person that the company is targeting. How so? Successful ad campaigns will give the consumer something to strive for, something that can be “achieved” by purchasing the product being advertised. Basically the opposite of what is being portrayed in the ad itself. 

So, with that in mind and a closer look, the kind of person they seem to be targeting is a basic, unsophisticated, socially awkward boy whose sexual conquests equate to masturbating to anime cartoons.  In my own selfish way, I like the fact that these ads exist because I believe the same logic for the advertising can be applied to the product being advertised.  If you tell me that your product is sophisticated and reserved for a “man who is discerning with his taste” chances are the product is not, and is best suited for those who can’t tell the difference between whisky and the Kool-Aid they are being fed by the marketing department. 

This kind of advertising is the romantic equivalent of a face full of cold sores. Wave off. If your company doesn’t have the common sense to put care into the message they are sending to ALL of their potential customers (not just the target market for an ad) then chances are they don’t put care into the product they are making either? Who among you wants to spend money on that?

I’m not talking about a few insulted little women here either. Recent studies show that one third of women in the UK are whisky drinkers and that number only shrinks to one quarter globally (add on top of that growing number of women who are now running the whisky industry in one way or the other). Ask any business person in the world what would happen if they walked into a convention centre showcasing all of the products in their industry and they went on the loud speaker and called one third or even one quarter of the people in the room a bunch of arseholes, how well that would work toward selling their product overall? Think I’m being a little extreme? Tell me how advertising that demeans and insults women on a global, continental or even national scale is any different? 

If you can convince me that this is a wise marketing strategy and positive for the overall brand than I’ll buy a case of Dewars and become your biggest ambassador, until then Dewars and all others found under the Bacardi Brand (Bacardi Rum, Dewars, Aberfeldy, Glen Deveron, Royal Brackla Scotch, Bombay Saffire Gin, Grey Goose and Eristoff Vodka, Cazadores Tequila, Martini Vermouth and Sparkling Wines and many others…) will no longer be getting a nickel from my household.

Ordinarily I don’t have a lot to say, but I do spend several hundred dollars a month on spirits and how I direct that cash during some of the busiest spending seasons of the year can speak volumes. 

Lets see how many others let their wallets talk as well?

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Graham MacKenney


  1. Not Bombay Sapphire gin! Damn, I'm going to have to support Hendricks from now on. Sucks to be me! ;)

    1. I hear Hendricks is better for you'll be ok Heather! -G

    2. Damn! Sapphire was my go-to gin also. Look out Hendrick's, my Sapphire is almost empty.

      -Bob Caron

  2. Well said. I prefer to seek out the thinking man's whisky.

  3. Hear, hear, Graham! Let all of us who find this advertising repugnant let our wallets do the talking. Maybe it won't make an impact on Bacardi/Dewar's bottom line, but it's worth fighting the good fight and continuing to publicize the reasons for not purchasing their product.

  4. It's easy to see the correlation, distillers who don't put much thought into their advertising put the same lack of thought into their whisky, And how does Dewars compare to other blends; to quote :
    Match A - Islay Mist 8 year-old vs. Dewar's White Label - the subtle sweetness and smokey nose of the Islay Mist dominated the match, easily pummelling the harsh chemical-laden nose of the Dewar's into the mat. A unanimous, 6 - 0 (5 - 0) decision, with some people finding themselves unable to even finish drinking their glass of Dewar's.

    1. You certainly don't see this type of advertising among blends like those from Compass Box. A company letting their reputation rest on their product and not suffering for it at all.

    2. I've been cited! And yes, the Dewar's was pretty bad...I am amazed at how companies with inferior products think if they market them enough, people will like them, yet as Graham points out, I don't think I've ever seen a Compass Box ad, and what they produce is phenomenal.

  5. And male typecast ads.

  6. "Those that are speaking out against the ads are connoisseurs, sophisticated in their tastes, intelligent and certainly able to see through the thin veil that this advertising throws. "

    Oh you mean people like you? Clearly you are legends in your own minds. I think you forgot to add self-righteous, pompous, egotistical, and elitist. By the way, I am offended by your derogatory portrayal of anime fans. I am starting a petition to have your blog pulled.