Marketing Alcohol To Women
You may best know Eva Longoria as Gabrielle Solis on "Desperate Housewives," but though I've never watched her television show, I see her as an important role model for women.
Lea en Español Alcohol comercializado a mujeres
Not a "Latina superstar," just a regular TV actress turned
A-list celebrity, model, product endorser and philanthropist who charms people
of all ages with her beauty and fabulous life. Longoria is an example of
affluence and beauty that young women of all races and ethnicities envy and
wish to emulate.
This is why it's so deeply disappointing that Longoria has agreed to be
the face of a new advertising campaign for a fruity, sparkling pink,
high-alcohol beverage. The French vodka, white wine and fruit juice concoction
is called Nuvo and has been in production since 2007 but hopes to boost sales
by marketing to women.
Nuvo comes packaged in what looks like a perfume bottle with a lid
reminiscent of a tube of lipstick. Its website calls it the "ultimate
accessory for any get-together ... that adds flare and decor to any
This continues the years-long tradition of promoting alcohol to young
women via mini-sized or brightly colored drinks such as wine coolers or tiny
champagne bottles designed to be sipped with straws, but adds the sophisticated
starlet. The marketer in me has to hand it to the Levinson Tractenberg Group
for the resonance their "Be Glamorous" campaign will have with young
women. The whole thing makes my skin crawl.
I'll be the first to point out that alcohol is a legal substance, and
the ads carry the disclaimers asking drinkers to imbibe "responsibly"
-- because alcohol is a powerful drug that requires a certain level of maturity
and self-control to use without harming yourself or others. But presenting
alcohol as a fashion accessory sends the opposite message.
Set aside the fact that the perfume bottle-like packaging will be most
attractive to the 12- to 20-year-old girls who make a habit poring through
magazines such as Cosmopolitan, Elle, and Marie Claire imagining their lives as
successful women. It's still harmful to present a 30-proof beverage as a
must-have, like sexy earrings or the right purse to guarantee a fun night out.
Even not counting women who have had instability or outright violence in
their lives due to a family member or romantic partner who abuses alcohol
-- and those women who themselves
abuse alcohol -- drinking reaches deep into women's lives.
The 2010 National Women's Law Center and Oregon Health and Science
University women's health report card found a sharp rise in women's binge
drinking. Overall, women are more obese and diabetic, and are testing
positively for the sexually transmitted disease chlamydia more than in 2007
when the last report card was issued. No causal link was established between
the drinking and the other health setbacks, but you'd have to bury your head
pretty deep in the sand to ignore a possible correlation.
Chillingly, researchers at the University of California, San Diego, analyzed
more than 129,000 deaths attributed to sudden infant death syndrome between
1973 and 2006 and found that the deaths spiked by 33 percent on New Year's Day
-- the day after millions of women all over the country get glammed up to go
out on the town to toast in the new year. On every other weekend of the year,
the SIDS incidence and alcohol consumption connection rises, and babies of
mothers who drink are more than twice as likely to die from SIDS as those whose
These are some of the grim results of highly successful advertising
campaigns that peddle alcohol's fun appeal to women.
Hey, I know alcohol companies have every right to market their products
to the adult target audiences of their choosing. Eva Longoria has the right to
make money selling drinks and aspirations, and women get to make their own
But I get to ask people to not fall for this particularly cute ad
campaign. Say "no gracias" to Nuvo's pretty pink attempts to make you
forget that, unlike perfume, alcohol can be deadly.
© 2011, Washington Post Writers Group