For over a century, Johnnie Walker has been known for their iconic striding man logo on their premium whisky bottles, but as of this week the blended whisky producer has introduced a female version of their logo on their Black Label products. The Jane Walker edition of Black Label is now available nationwide in the US and Johnnie Walker has pledged to donate one dollar for every Jane Walker bottle produced (up to $250,000) to organizations that support women’s progress.
This move comes just in time for Women’s History Month and International Women’s day on March 8. According to the company, Jane Walker is a symbol of the brand’s commitment to progress. In the spirit of women’s empowerment, the company hopes that this new edition of their classic product will encourage conversations about gender equality.
“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 organizations that share our mission,” commented Stephanie Jacoby, Vice President of Johnnie Walker. “We are proud to toast the many achievements of women and everyone on the journey towards progress in gender equality.”
According to a recent press release, the company also made a donation of $150,000 to Monumental Women, a non-profit working towards creating a monument in New York City’s Central Park that represents and honors American women suffragists. The alcohol manufacturer also plans on donating a portion of the Jane Walker Edition proceeds to She Should Run, an organization that inspired women to run for office.
“We are here to move history forward. Our project honors Stanton and Anthony [pioneers in the movement for women’s suffrage and rights] as well as all the women who fought for the largest nonviolent revolution in the history of this nation, when over half the population won the right to vote. It’s an instant history lesson. But most of all, it’s about completing the journeys toward justice of the valiant women who came before us and achieving the full equality for women that they were denied. Monumental change is coming. We thank Johnnie Walker for their support and recognizing the importance of Women’s History,” said Pam Elam, President, Elizabeth Cady Stanton and Susan B. Anthony Statue Fund and its Monumental Women Campaign.
Brand owner, Diageo Plc, is hoping that the diversification of their popular Johnnie Walker logo will bring in more female consumers. Back in 2014, Fred Minnick, author of Whisky Women, told NPR that 37 percent of women drink whisky in the US, which is a 17 percent increase from the 1990s. As more women enter the work place and break gender stereotypes, they are proving to be a valuable demographic for the alcohol industry.
“Scotch as a category is seen as particularly intimidating by women,” Jacoby said in a Bloomberg interview. “It’s a really exciting opportunity to invite women into the brand.”
This launch also comes amid a lot of media coverage on women’s rights and social media movements such as #timesup and #metoo. As more women are starting to stand up for their rights and speak out on issues of sexual harassment, major food companies are supporting the movement by diversifying their brands to include more female influences.
Earlier this year, KFC launched a commercial that featured the first female to play their iconic Colonel Harland Sanders. Country singer Reba McEntire can be seen sporting a white moustache in Colonel Sanders’ getup and singing on a stage in the commercial. PepsiCo is also trying appeal to female consumers with snack ranges that are aimed at women only. However, the beverage giant faced a lot of backlash for their Frito-Lay chips for women idea.
As women become more promising consumers for the hard liquor industry, it is likely that other alcohol companies will want to appeal to this growing demographic as well.
“We really see Jane as the first female iteration of our striding-man icon,” Jacoby said. “We like to think of our striding man and our striding woman as really walking together going forward.”