A press release for Happy Bitch Rose just landed in my inbox, and while I have nothing against the wine per se, I’ll probably never find out if it’s any good–and I’ll certainly never recommend it in the wine pairings I write for Cooking Light and Wine Enthusiast.
Because it’s patronizing. Brands that develop a specific, brand-lite concept that’s dumbed down, (shudder) pink, light, and anti-intellectual say to women, “We don’t think you can handle the real thing, so we’ll create a lame version of a brand for you and hope it flies off the shelves since we talk about how you can get together with your girlfriends and use it while shoe-shopping, waiting in line for the bathroom, and taking your kids to soccer practice.”
In this specific example, marketing research does bear out the fact that a large number of women like sweet, light wines. I suppose the company thought “Happy Bitch” was edgy, but the name gets an F in my gradebook both for its vulgarity and the way it paints women. Sorry, but “bitchy” wine won’t make me plunk down my money or recommend it to my readers. It’s still widely known as an insult, even if the label stands out in the crowded marketplace of wines.
Now, some of this “pink” marketing works, or companies wouldn’t use it. Certain women respond well to labels featuring cupcakes and chocolate, bitchy wines, and the assumption that yogurt is the exclusive domain of females.
But not me.
And not the smart women I know.