Today, I think I will start with a one question quiz that you won’t be able to answer.
What do these people have in common? Ari Mervis, Mike Walsh, Anton Van Heerden, Dan Last, Grant Peck, Tanya Southey, Peter Filipovic, Dean Matthews, Jeremy Griffith and Andy Gibson. That’s probably too hard so I will give the answer straight away. They are, according to their own website, the current senior management team of Fosters Group Ltd.; the ones who brew Fosters Beer.
Looking at their website, this company is full of big statements. They have a “commitment to lead innovation, invest in our brands and maintain the highest quality standards remains steadfast”. I notice they are keen to present a positive image about alcohol responsibility and detail their involvement in sustainability and have invested $7.1m in community programmes – all highly commendable.
However, it’s not all positive. Today I have been sent a link to one of their recent TV advertisements in the Brad and Dan series. Over the years, I am sure we have seen many of these and question their overtly sexist content. This one comes with a difference – their telephone subject in the UK is a woman. I’ve not seen one like this before.
It has highlighted to me the issue of corporate communication through advertising media. Laudable it may be for a company to support its communities and be aware of sustainability issues, but corporate social responsibility has to go further. Perhaps it is time for a company to be accountable for the message it puts out and maybe this series of adverts, which has an element of tongue-in-cheek about them, have gone a bit far this time.
Sexism exists and impacts heavily on women in the workplace and society at large. If the subject of the adverts was race and racism, it would never be made. Why is sexism allowed? I intend making a complaint to the Advertising Standards Authority and recommend that others do the same. It is time to challenge overt sexism in the media and in advertising in particular.
Perhaps this blog is also a little reminder for us to take a look at our own services. How would they fare is the gender equality stakes?
As a post script, I wonder what Tanya Southey, as the only woman among nine men on the senior management team at Fosters Group Ltd makes of Brad and Dan and their continuing sexist outbursts?