A risky marketing campaign for a line of beer has created a hangover for South African distributor Vale Bru. With beer names such as “Easy Blonde” and “Filthy Burnette,” the company is now admitting the campaign was “insensitive” and “wrong.”
In addition to the potentially controversial names, Vale Bru expanded the racy social media campaign by posting several provocative descriptions of the beers, per a BBC report. “All of your friends have had her” defined Easy Blonde. Filthy Burnette was “when gushing and moist are used to describe something, then you know.”
“Raven Porra,” another beer in the line, is “A porter with the best head in town,” according to the company’s post. The word “Porra” is considered offensive to someone from Portugal. Another product, “Ripe Redhead,” was also not well received after Vale Bru used the line, “Previously a Ginger Pikey.” The word pikey is insensitive to some Irish groups.
Almost as fast as the social media campaign started, outrage erupted, especially from women.
“Sexy is not always sexist. Know the difference,” wrote beer blogger Thandi Guilerme in a post on Craft Geek. “#Metoo, rape culture and Trump’s ‘locker room’ misogyny are not funny.”
“Clearly, the whole #metoo movement has passed these guys by,” Lucy Corne, blogger for Brew Mistress, wrote. “Your ‘hilarious’ beer names show your attitude towards women – as something to have sex with. Not to be respected or included.”
The distributor did apologize for the campaign, but it didn’t do much to calm anyone down.
“Our attempt at making you‚ and ourselves‚ uncomfortable‚ worked. However‚ we never meant to belittle or degrade you.”
The first apology was later deleted, and the company issued a new one on June 7 that took full responsibility, acknowledging the campaign was “wrong” and “insensitive.” Vale Bru now has plans to make up for their actions.
Per a Business Insider report, Vale Bru executive Mias Nel did not expect the response to be so harsh, and he has been losing sleep over it ever since. According to Nel, the beer names are supposed to be gender neutral, but it was the social media campaign that specifically linked them to women, which should not have happened.
From now on Vale Bru will work with women to help “educate” the company about sexism. However, the company does intend to keep the beer names.
The company does not actually brew the beer it sells. Vale Bru simply relabels and distributes beer brewed by Swagga Brewery.