Demming: Stag can and should do better in its ‘move-men-to-respect’ campaign

How does one step back from the bold misogynistic claim of being ‘The Man’s Beer’? Do you flip the script and position yourself as being anti-violence against women?  

Do you attempt to engage womenfolk and position yourself as our protector by communicating repeated images of male power and strength smashing glasses and bottles in your advertisement? Do you establish a new bold claim in your tagline ‘move-men-to-respect’?  

Photo: A Stag advertisement in its ‘move-men-to-respect’ campaign.

None of the above will change  years of misogynistic posturing.

Our most accurate experience of the essence of your brand was in the low-brow moment of one ad where the protagonist, while purchasing an engagement ring, flirted with his ‘ex’ who worked at the jewellery store and apparently was ‘looking good’.  

When asked by his ‘man friends’: “wha yuh do boy?” His boastful response was: “Yuh know yuh boy!”—which evoked a raucous round of hooting and table-slapping.

You followed this up with a 44-second advertisement which showed eight instances of a man’s hand crushing either a jug or a beer bottle and described at least five instances of violence against women.  

After 31 seconds, the voice-over and imagery spoke to the beer being reserved for men who protect women. In my opinion, the violence and the negative messaging are just overwhelming.

Photo: A Stag advertisement against gender-based violence.

Is it that you are so removed from our reality that you are tone-deaf to the likelihood that this imagery may simply reinforce the culture of violence perpetrated by men against women? Have you and your advisors not considered the context in which such a video will be released?

Assuming that your team created this ad to act as one of the antidotes to gender-based violence—and that increased market share is not your goal—be reminded that years of misogyny cannot be fixed by one advertising campaign.  

You need to do the work and take the time necessary to change your image.

If you want an easy fix, then recognise the clarity of your own misogyny, and use your profits to contribute to the many shelters for battered women. Take one dollar from each green beer you sell and contribute it to the shelters.  

Put up a countdown on your social media channels and challenge the nation to keep the donations rolling in; report the level of contribution to the nation on a quarterly basis and engage the many NGOs in working towards turning around the culture of violence. 

Photo: A demonstration against gender-based violence.
(Copyright Getty)

Challenge your parent organisation, which runs a psychological unit, to give free counselling to victims and perpetrators of domestic abuse—regardless of gender.

Being an alcohol company puts you in a difficult social space. Our love/hate relationship will continue. All we can expect is that you use your brand recognition and money to effectively alleviate some of our difficult problems, which you as a company unintentionally perpetuate.

There is one beer that, since 1988, has stopped production of its product a few times to package water in beer cans so as to help victims of natural disasters. Are you willing to show in a similar, tangible way that you are really committed to preventing domestic/gender-based violence? Or is this just window dressing for you—hoping your clientele is not savvy enough to see through it?

There is an epidemic of violence and gender-based violence plaguing this country and the Covid-19 pandemic has not helped.  As a matter of fact, one major alcohol company boasted that 2020 marked a 10-year record in its gross profits. 

Photo: Women protest against gender-based violence.

It is time for the green campaign to move from speaking out against gender-based violence to putting your big money behind specific, effective programmes.

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About Dennise Demming

Dennise Demming grew up in East Dry River, Port of Spain and has more than 30 years experience as a communication strategist, political commentator and event planner. She has 15 years experience lecturing business communications at UWI and is the co-licensee for TEDxPortofSpain. Dennise is a member of the HOPE political party.

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  1. Great opinion! Stag has much to make up for. This half hearted attempt does not inspire me to purchase their products.

  2. While I agree with Ms. Demming’s comments, I will like to also add that this entire ad campaign is offensive towards men. The audio and visual messages in this latest Stag advertisement promote a narrative that most if not all men are somehow responsible for violence against women. This is a very simplistic view of the underlying problems that lead to these tragedies against women. While men no doubt are the primary perpetrators of these crimes, new research is revealing that these violent men were primarily raised by women in disfunctional single-parent arrangements. Indicating that their propensity to violence against the opposite sex stemmed from a history of continuous violence, disrespect, and ill-treatment by their female caregivers and lack of a male figure in the home. By any stretch of the imagination, this problem is by no means as straightforward as most people will like to think.

    Men across T&T should therefore be appalled, especially those that would normally consume this product. Such marketing tactics that clearly stereotype and stigmatize one gender should be not be accepted regardless of the perceived overall message. If as a society we are genuinely concerned about violence, on the whole, we would find that the statistics show an overwhelming disparity of deaths by violence with men themselves being the major victims. In 2017 from 494 deaths by murder 52 were women while 42 were due to domestic violence. So it seems that as a society we are mainly concerned about an 8.5% minority of deaths with the other 91.5% going completely unnoticed.

    While in no way am I downplaying domestic violence against women, my point is that there is a larger issue at play here where violence against women is only part of the story. To get to the bottom of this societal problem men and women need to work together and stop taking sides. Ad campaigns like Stag’s latest contribution where one gender is pitted against the other add no real value. In addition, I see no balance here. Is there any similar ad that lectures to women on how they must treat men? Is there any product on the market that would dare tell women “…. for women that respect men”. Are we then to assume that women are completely blameless on the domestic front?

    This scenario shows a clear bias against men in society and I would not be surprised if a group of female executives was primarily responsible for this ad campaign. I am disappointed that more men are not appalled by this.

  3. “As a matter of fact, one major alcohol company boasted that 2020 marked a 10-year record in its gross profits.”

    ECON 101 teaches that profit maximisation is at the very centre of capitalism; ALL else runs a distant second so put that in yuh pipe, ladies, and smoke it.

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