Is Jane Walker just another example of the ‘Lady Doritos‘ and ‘Bic for Her‘ school of marketing, or do women really need a lady on the bottle to be told it’s ok to drink whisky?
News emerged this week that the world’s largest whisky producer, Diageo, will launch a special bottle of its famous Johnnie Walker brand, labelled ‘Jane Walker’ in the US next month to coincide with Women’s History Month and International Women’s Day.
The bottle will contain the standard 12-year-old Black Label blend, but will carry the image of a top-hatted ‘striding woman’ instead of the iconic ‘striding man’ logo that was first introduced in 1908:
Launching the special edition bottles, Stephanie Jacoby, vice president of Johnnie Walker told Bloomberg: “Scotch as a category is seen as particularly intimidating by women. It’s a really exciting opportunity to invite women into the brand.”
Is this true? And if so, does special lady packaging solve the problem? At least two female journalists leapt in to pour scorn on the idea:
“Interested in getting into scotch, but feeling a little scared of the manly dirt-tasting brown drink? The makers of Johnnie Walker are here to help! ” – Kelly Faircloth, Jezebel.
“Perhaps if they put a woman on the scotch bottle, then Ladies like myself would know scotch is an appropriate choice. I believe the term is “pandering,” but I am just an intimidated Lady, so correct me if I am wrong!” – Maura Judkis, Washington Post.
Granted, whisky may not be the most popular drink amongst women – the share of U.S. whisky drinkers who are women hovers at around 30% and hasn’t moved much in the last eight years – but does that have anything to do with a lack of ladies on the bottles? I mean a quick look at my shelf shows me bottles bearing dogs, mice, monkeys, oysters and moody Scottish scenery. Which, if any, of these are inherently masculine images?