Johnnie Walker is rolling out a female version of its iconic logo, an attempt to draw more women to the world’s bestselling Scotch and acknowledge a broader push toward gender equality. A limited US edition of the whisky will have a striding woman on the label – rather than the traditional top-hatted man – and carry the name Jane Walker. Brand owner Diageo Plc is hoping the move widens the appeal of the product while celebrating women, said Stephanie Jacoby, vice-president of Johnnie Walker.
“Scotch as a category is seen as particularly intimidating by women,” Jacoby said in an interview. “It’s a really exciting opportunity to invite women into the brand.”
Hello, it is I, a lady! Thank you for recognising my work with the Doritos product development team. I was honoured to give those gentlemen my ideas about developing a whole new Doritos for ladies like myself who are embarrassed by the ghastly noises of crunching and who find bags of chips too large and unwieldy to put in our purses. I know those valuable comments attracted the attention of you gentlemen on the Johnnie Walker product development team because you, too, are curious about the opinions of ladies in regards to your fine product.
What do I know about Scotch? Very little, alas. Women only consume wine spritzers and vodka-based drinks, like Cosmopolitans. I love a good cosmo with my girls. (I have watched every episode of Sex and the City three times. I am a Charlotte.) How could I possibly know anything about Scotch and Bourbon and whisky, drinks that are exclusively for men? I have no idea how they are made or what they’re made of, but I suspect the ingredients include testosterone and beard oil. Plus, there’s the adage about how these beverages will “put hair on your chest” – that dreadful titbit sent me straight to my fainting couch, where it took many whiffs of the smelling salts before I was revived. A lady is only permitted to have hair on her head, so it was quite distressing to learn of this terrible side effect.
Despite this, I will admit I possess in my heart a curiosity unbecoming of ladies. I have never told anyone this until now, but I will confess my shameful secret: I have tried Scotch. I was terrified. How could I, a lady, sample this strong, masculine potion? What would it do to me? If a man found out I drank Scotch, how could he ever want to marry me? How much electrolysis would it take to remove all of the hair? These were all questions I asked myself as I took a single sip – “neat,” as I have heard men order it – and then anticipated my terrible transformation. For days, I hid in a darkened room, waiting to become a female Wolverine. I armed myself with a pack of pink razors and some pink shaving gel, only pausing my shrill cries to contemplate how products marketed towards women cost more than products for men even though we’re still dealing with that pesky gender pay gap. (But I am not complaining, a lady should never complain!)
Anyway. By some miracle, the hair never came, and I escaped my Scotch-drinking experience unscathed. It was my final fling with insubordination. I find Scotch so frightening that every time I am in the presence of a bottle, I start shaking like a leaf. Brown liquors are so terribly unfeminine, and they intimidate me almost as much as mathematics. If you were to develop a Scotch for ladies, of course you would need a scientist to take care of the hair problem. But you would also need to make it more approachable, and perhaps you could start with the packaging.
I know wine is certainly suitable for ladies to drink, because it comes in the colour pink and has bottles with names like “Cupcake”, “Babe” and “Mommy’s Time Out”. I find beer intimidating too, but thankfully, brewers indicate which ones are for ladies (“Chick,” “Aurosa”, “High Heel Brewing”) and which ones are for men (“Raging Bitch”, “Thong Remover”, “Double D”). 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. In fact, a lot of companies could do this. I have never had Frosted Flakes because of Tony the Tiger. The Geico Gecko gives off too much masculine energy. Do not get me started on Mr. Peanut.
Nevertheless: Thank you for listening to my aimless prattle, I know it’s hard to listen to a lady who has opinions. I look forward to further developments in the important field of products for ladies, and I am eager for the day when ladies will be permitted to drink Scotch. Maybe some day we will be allowed to try steak – a girl can dream. (Just kidding. We all know ladies are not allowed to have steak; they can only smell it from a polite distance.) Good luck!
(Note: This article is satirical. And, according to the news release, “Johnnie Walker will be donating US$1 for every bottle of the Jane Walker Edition made to organisations championing women’s causes” – which is nice, but creating gendered packaging for women and saying they are intimidated by Scotch does not really further that goal, does it?)