Diageo says Jane
Walker, a limited-edition version of Johnnie Walker black label, will go on
sale starting in March.

It has revamped the
iconic Johnnie Walker logo for the first time in over a century to show a woman
in boots mid-stride tipping her hat.

The marketing ploy
comes on the heels of a Diageo campaign called #LoveScotch, which has splashed
pictures of attractive young women drinking Scotch together across billboards,
social media and magazines in dozens of countries.

“We realised we
should be successfully and actively marketing to women,” said Diageo’s chief
marketing officer, Syl Saller, in an interview with 
The Wall Street
Journal
 last year.

“That’s been really
positive for us particularly in categories that would have been considered more
masculine, like scotch.”

Stephanie Jacoby, vice president of Johnnie Walker, said: “Important
conversations about gender continue to be at the forefront of culture and we
strongly believe there is no better time than now to introduce our Jane
Walker​ icon and contribute to pioneering organisations that share our
mission.​

“We are proud to
toast the many achievements of women and everyone on the journey towards
progress in gender equality.”​

The share of US
whiskey drinkers who are women ticked up to 29.6% in 2016 from 28.2% in 2010,
according to Nielsen.

“As whiskeys have
expanded and experimented with new flavours, such as honey, maple, cinnamon and
apple, it has helped attract more women to the drink,” said Danny Brager, who
heads Nielsen’s US beverage alcohol practice.

The female-branded
Johnnie Walker bottle will be available across the US at $34 for a 750ml
bottle, the same price as the regular Johnnie Walker black label.

Johnnie Walker for
decades marketed its scotch mainly to men. A 1988 ad for the scotch brand
reads: “He loves my mind. And he drinks Johnnie Walker.” The caption was
incongruously accompanied by a picture of the backs of two women in bikinis on
a beach.

In recent years,
Diageo has shifted gears to make its products more attractive to women. “The
way we do that is not by making things pink. It is by being very inclusive in
our communications, targeting women and men with our communications,” said Ms
Saller.

The alcohol
industry’s new focus on women isn’t uncontroversial. Public-health researchers
and campaigners point to physiological differences that make women more
vulnerable to harm from alcohol consumption than men.

Diageo has said for
every Jane Walker bottle sold, it would donate $1 to organizations championing
women’s causes, up to $250,000.

There will be
advertising support in print publications such as the New Yorker and Time
magazine. The brand will also feature at events such as the coming Women In
Film Pre-Oscar Party, toasting all female Oscar nominees.

[Hmm, Diageo, what’s
taken you so long to now suddenly stand for ‘progress’, ‘to toast the many
achievements of women’? Just saying… Ed]

Source: Drink Stuff SA