Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Stay classy, Australia

In an era when Ontario rules against ads that "imply alcohol is necessary for social, professional, personal, athletic, sexual achievement, enjoyment, resolution of problems" and the EU bans alcohol ads that "create the impression that the consumption of alcohol contributes towards social or sexual success" Australia may be one of the last bastions of sexy/ist beer marketing.

Skinny Blonde, a low-carb beer created by a drummer, a winemaker and an artist down under features a label with a classic pin-up girl illustration, named "Daisy", whose top disappears when the bottle warms up (i.e., is emptied).

Women's Forum Australia spokeswoman Melinda Tankard Reist (ironic name, btw) called the labels and campaign "demeaning, inappropriate and troubling".

Apparently, Australia does actually have an Alcohol Beverages Advertising Code, who recently upheld three separate complaints against the brewers, including using their Facebook page to promote underage drinking even before the label was released. Since that time, according to a somewhat-incomprehensible blog called Crikey, the "squiz-copping function" (whatever that means) of their web site, which also featured topless women, had been disabled and no further promotion of the heat-sensitive labels was made.

So, is this just another example of shock advertising that misses the point of the product (i.e., is the beer any good without its gimmick)? Or is it "further proof that boobs can sell anything"?

Whatever the case, this domestic Aussie brand is spilling over into international media. Skinny Blonde proudly displays its press clippings on the home page, with an invitation to submit more.

But what can we expect from a rock 'n' roll beer? Brewer/Drummer Hamish Rosser of The Vines, countered, "The label and web site is in no way meant to offend women or anyone else, rather embrace the Australian beach culture."

Or as Nigel Tufnel of Spinal Tap more famously put it, "what's wrong with being sexy"?

Let's just hope Hamish doesn't end up drumming for the Tap.

I sent this blog to the Skinny Blonde site for comment, and Hamish wrote me right back. His comment?

Are Spinal Tap looking for a drummer?
I've always wanted to spontaneously combust in a flash of green light.

And here I was hoping he'd offer to send beer...

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