BrewDog “ a Scottish craft brewery who we have written about previously “ are now learning the price of irony in today's internet age. The Brewery are no stranger to controversy when it comes to their marketing strategy and have been in the spotlight more as of late “ but we'll get to that later.
So, What Happened?
BrewDog took a pre-existing brand of beer of theirs called, ˜Punk IPA' and rebranded it as ˜Pink IPA', relabelling the words and the colour to a bright pink. This was done with a sense of irony. BrewDog were poking fun at the unironic way in which other brewery will label pink beers specifically to appeal to ladies by ironically doing so themselves. The results could have gone better. Sarah Warman, global head of marketing at BrewDog, said that sexism was rife in the brewing industry and that the company would be using the BrewDog Pink launch as an opportunity to attract more female employees and kickstart a new wave of diversity. The company say that Pink IPA was a beer for equality, and that the packaging was a satirical stab at the sexist marketing still frequently seen in beer advertising.
It's Happened Before, Hasn't It?
BrewDog have also run a less than memorable marketing campaign when they sold their Pink IPA at a cheaper price to anyone who identified as female, they did this to highlight the gender pay gap which stands at around at 18% differential between men and women. It has been pointed out though that BrewDog themselves have a 2.8 median pay gap in favour of men among their own employees (roughly 1,000), and the hypocrisy has not gone unnoticed by many. The brewery has a history of fraught relationships between themselves and the more progressive mainstream. Back in 2015, they released the world's first, 'non-binary transgender beer' which left many a tweeter on social media to be less than impressed.
No It's Happened Again, Hasn't It?
Yes, folks, it certainly has. A man sued BrewDog for sexual discrimination as he was refused service of a beer due to him being a male. You can read all about it here. The man went for a drink at the BrewDog bar in Cardiff where he attempted to order the Pink IPA drink which was advertised for £4 as part of the brewery's campaign to highlight the gender pay gap. The 27-year-old software engineer said: ˜After a bit of a back and forth with me protesting this, I felt forced to identify as female and was then able to get the drink for £4- I complained to the company about this and they said it wasn't discrimination because the price difference was part of a national campaign to raise awareness about the gender pay gap. ˜Not satisfied with this, I complained again to BrewDog stating that I was intending to take them to court over this but would rather resolve the problem outside court. They ignored this.' And they are currently reaping it in the national press.
BrewDog have certainly been in the doghouse as of late and they seem to have a funny habit of staying there. Original marketing strategies are encouraged in all businesses, but not to the point where they land in you a heap load of bad publicity. We're sure BrewDog will crew their way out of this one by continuing to produce high quality beers for us all, but perhaps they need a rejig in the marketing team.