Nova Scotia ad campaign for ‘Dirty Blonde’ beer sparks complaints about sexism
The campaign included the slogans: "Everybody loves a dirty blonde from Dartmouth," and "We'd like you to meet another blonde from Dartmouth"
HALIFAX—The head of the association that represents most craft breweries in Nova Scotia says a brewer in the Halifax area has shut down a marketing campaign for its “Dirty Blonde” beer amid complaints the ads are sexist.
Emily Tipton, president of the Craft Brewers Association of Nova Scotia, says the industry group recently received a letter of complaint about Dartmouth-based Nine Locks Brewing Co., signed by 17 of the association’s 45 members.
The letter asks the association to take steps to stop the campaign, which included the slogans: “Everybody loves a dirty blonde from Dartmouth,” and “We’d like you to meet another blonde from Dartmouth.”
In an interview Tuesday, Tipton said: “There’s no place for sexism or misogyny in the craft beer industry—or anywhere in Nova Scotia.”
“As an industry, we believe that our craft breweries should be held accountable for the marketing and advertising decisions that we make,” she said.
The complaint calls for “cessation of this egregious campaign, because in the bright light of the current global political and cultural #MeToo movement, we demand better.”
The president of Nine Locks, Shaun O’Hearn, could not be reached for comment Tuesday.
O’Hearn told CBC he believes the ads are “cheeky” but not sexist. He offered an apology to anyone who was offended by the campaign, but insisted he would not change the name of the beer—described as a North American-style Weizen brewed with Canadian wheat and barley.
None of the ads in question feature images of women or men.
Tipton said the association doesn’t have the authority to demand changes to its members’ marketing campaigns, but she confirmed the group has asked the province’s liquor agency to look into potential violations of its advertising rules.
“We’ve had several discussions with the (Nova Scotia Liquor Commission) over the last few weeks and they indicated to us that they have had discussions with Nine Locks.”
The Crown corporation issued a statement Tuesday saying “elements” of the Nine Locks campaign violated the commission’s advertising rules of conduct.
“We have been in touch with Nine Locks about this campaign and are working with them on a successful resolution of this matter,” spokeswoman Beverley Ware said in a statement.
“We have also been in contact with the Craft Brewers Association to discuss their concerns.”
When asked about her personal opinion of the campaign, Tipton said she found it “a little over the line.”
“I am a woman in the brewing industry and I have dirty blonde hair and I don’t think blonde jokes are genderless. I realize that they haven’t depicted women in their advertising, but they are certainly alluding to them with their use of blonde jokes. I find it … cringeworthy.”