Adverts for the Blame John campaign state:
“Fancy a pint but the missus wants you home? Blame John. Text BLAME JOHN to 80010 and we will text you the perfect excuse from your mate to stay out late.”
Critics point out the campaign is sexist and there have been calls on Twitter for the brewery to pull the campaign and apologise. It is accused of “prehistoric marketing”, “negative gender stereotyping” and “alienating potential customers.”
In a statement the brewery said: “We would like to apologise to the few people who found the recent Dear John campaign offensive. It was only ever intended as a light hearted, tongue-in-cheek campaign.”
JW Lees said in a statement: “Following the comments made by a few people on Twitter earlier this week, JW Lees is currently looking into the wider marketing for the Blame John campaign. However, as a large number of our customers have enjoyed using the text service in the light-hearted way it was intended, we will continue to provide it for both men and women who see the text excuses as tongue-in-cheek fun.”
The campaign was originally launched as part of Cask Ale Week in September and was promoted via PoS, social media activity and a PR drive.
Last year the brewery was lauded for its campaign to promote its Manchester Pale Ale, which featured a flash mob of ballet dancing Liam Gallagher lookalikes in London’s Covent Garden. It has received nearly 20,000 views on You Tube.
It is the latest blow for the beer industry, long accused of misogyny, after CAMRA was forced to pull a Young Members recruitment flyer after calls of “beer sexism.”