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We have examined in depth the advertising strategies alcohol companies employ across a variety of media, as well as other publicity actions such as sponsorships. Though exceptions certainly exist, we have observed a sweeping trend of common disparities in marketing to different genders. Given practically any ad, it is almost always highly evident which gender the alcoholic product is being marketed towards. For women these take a more passive role, and are linked to fruity, feminine “easy to drink”, sweet tastes. For men, the ads imply dominant activism, and tend to be connected with bitter beers, though there is some overlap. Beer is rarely ever marketed towards women, however. It is uncommon to find an advertisement for alcohol that is gender-neutral or intended to question gender stereotypes. Why is gender stereotyping so commonly used as criteria by alcohol ad agencies? This may have to do with advertising companies recognizing sexism in our society and exploiting it for profit, by trying to link their product with a sense of attractiveness towards the opposite gender. In our society, though drinking is common to all age types (save children and many teenagers), it is deeply integrated with the social habits of young adults. Nightlife and alcohol go hand in hand, and this is generally the stage in life where people are most concerned with attracting a mate, rather than achieving professional success, or raising a family.
Arguably the most socially oriented product with one of the largest and most diverse consumer bases present today, alcoholic beverages undoubtedly present a unique challenge to advertisers. Because it is a highly lucrative market with fierce competition and resounding social impacts, advertisers have adapted a number of cognitive and aesthetic strategies to appeal to different sectors of the consumer base. We chose to study these different approaches as they adhere to gender divisions. It takes minimal attention to recognize the obvious marketing disparities in this component, yet there is an intriguing amount of depth into which this study can be delved. We want to know why and to what extent these tactics are effective, as well as how evident the spillover impacts are both socially and commercially. As young members of a new emerging technology-dependent generation, we are interested in this subject and the way it will affect our future relationships, careers, and stereotypes. Gender inequality is a prominent driving force in business, yet it is rarely directly addressed by the advertising agencies which propel it. We want to bring light to the inequalities inherent in this industry, and address their overall desirability and morality. We will examine the prevalence of these advertisements across a variety of media and analyze both its usefulness and potential corruptive forces on culture. Through investigating advertisements in television, print, web communities, and company sponsorships both contemporary and vintage, we will examine this subject’s historical significance and current relevancy.