Jim Beam demonstrates just how much men want to hate us

As tigtog said, people are up in arms about the “The Neighbours” commercial from purveyors of bad bourbon and toxic masculinity, Jim Beam.

The Age reports:

The bourbon maker’s campaign, The Neighbours, includes TV and internet ads showing two blondes in G-strings applying sunscreen, bouncing on a trampoline and finally stripping naked as they’re watched through a hedge by “Stevo next door” and his mates.

A 30-second TV version, first shown on Friday on Fox Sports, features one semi-naked women stating: “We say, Aussie, Aussie, Aussie, take off your cozzie.” Viewers are then directed to a website with a longer ad in which the women are spied on as they undress.

The camera zooms in on their breasts and backsides before ending with a close-up of one topless woman washing dishes at the kitchen sink.

Jim Beam’s “The Neighbours” website is now closed, but here’s the short version of the offending advertisement.


What the media seem to be missing, however, is that this ad is part of a series of Jim Beam advertisements, and that they all seem to be deliberately designed to be wildly offensive from a feminist point of view. The advertisements are titled “The Girlfriend”, “The Tragedy”, and “The Stalker”. They appear to be designed to provoke condemnation, so that misogynist Jim Beam lovers can think that they’re dominating the well-worn dance, spinning around and snarling “Can’t you take a joke?”

These advertisements are saturated with male gaze. They make no sense except in the context of sniggering homosociality and entitled whitehetmasculinity. These ads are not about the imaginary women depicted in the advertisements; they’re about the men who the women are performing for, servicing, teasing, depriving, torturing.

They’re about the men who pour each other a bourbon, boast about their imaginary exotic fuckslaves, and whine about how those bitchez never leave them alone.

Women exist only in relation to when and how their vaginas were used by the invisible protagonist. There is no madonna/whore dichotomy in the Jim Beam world; there is whore-I-wanna-fuck, whore-I’m-fucking, and nasty-whore-I-used-to-fuck. And this advertisement series outlines all the archetypes.

Here are the other three ads. Transcripts are at the foot of the post.

The Girlfriend

This ad plays into the fantasy of the uncomplaining sexbot who exists only to serve her neglectful boyfriend. But this ad, as well as being a fapfantasy, is also about men who complain about their current or past girlfriends, about how much of a pain in the arse real women are. It’s about men bonding with other men over women being “fussy”, expecting a little bit of time and conversation now and then. It’s about the whingeing harpies who get unreasonably upset when men spend all of their time ignoring women, watching sport, socialising with other men, and hiring sex workers.

For extra kicks, the woman has a fake accent (Russian?), nearly as bad as the fake Swedish accent in the Neighbours ad. Women don’t just come in three flavours of fucktoy status, they come in multiple flavours of ersatz exoticism – but only those exotic flavours which have been sexualised and objectified in Anglo male fantasies. No effort is made at all to simulate authenticity; the accents are so very obviously fake. This is about the masturbatory idea of exotic women, an idea resident only in the heads of those who have never had any meaningful contact with actual “foreigners”.

The website has a tablink to “Create The Ultimate Girlfriend”. Thankfully, it’s not working yet. Apparently we have that to look forward to. Shades of Axe/Lynx, anyone?


The Tragedy

This has already been uploaded to Youtube re-titled “The Tease”, which is exactly how it is supposed to be interpreted. Lesbians aren’t immune from their participation in male heterosexuality; no, they’re doing it just to tease and titillate. Lesbianism is re-invented to be all about the men who are watching, the men who are wilfully turned on and unfairly deprived by those hott lesbo bitches. Lesbianism is simultaneously a fantasy and a tragedy for men – at least, when it involves young beautiful women it is.


The Stalker

And so, it goes from bad to worse. The Stalker tells the story of a man whose life is now being made miserable by a gorgeous stalker. Why is ex-girlfriend stalkage such a common ingredient in misogynist fantasy? I suspect it serves two purposes simultaneously: one, the wannabe-stalkee gets to imagine that his dick is so mighty, so irresistible, that women he spurns have nothing better to do that to constantly fantasise about it. Two, it conveniently casts women as conniving and evil, making them even easier to hate.

But this one really does get worse. Jim Beam’s viral strategy is to encourage you to send stalking SMS messages to your friends – both male and female friends, I’m guessing, given the awkward genderless “they” in the invitation.


Freak out your friend with a message from our very own bunny-boiler. You’ll have your mate looking over their shoulder and filling out an AVO in no time. But like The Stalker says, it’s just a piece of paper. They’ll need more than that to stop her. Happy stalking!

Pressing CONTINUE gets you to a new screen:


* Don’t turn round baby, but you look SO hot. Speaking of babies ours’d be SO cute, like you. I wonder what we’d call them?

* I dreamt about you last night. Again! Every day without you is a NIGHTMARE! I kept your shirt. I wear it under my uniform.

* Why won’t you answer? It’s me. Are you ignoring me? I’d do anything for you. I hate you SOOO much! We’ll be together 4 ever.

* Hi big boy, remember me? What a crazy night. I think about you 24 7. I know it was 2 years ago but I’ll never let u go.

* WHO IS SHE? It’s not your sister ’cause she’s tied up in my basement. I forgive you. It’s me or it’s no one! I hate u but I love u.

There is a place to enter your friend’s name and mobile number. In the interests of journalism, I tried it – the message came through immediately. If I wasn’t already creeped the fuck out, I sure am now.

I’ll report back if the douchebags at JB start stalking me.


The Neighbours transcript:

[POV shot: peeping through bushes at naked cavorting faux-Swedish women in a backyard: two thin white women with blonde braids and bad accents.]

One woman: “Back in Sweden, we like the outdoors. Every day we come out here, whatever the weather.” [plays with braids flirtatiously] “But we are careful with the sunscreen. Factor 30 – we slop, slip, slap.” [looks down] “How can I wear one? I don’t even have one. We say [other woman joins in] Aussie Aussie Aussie, take off your cossie!” [cossie = swimming costume]

[The shot rises over the fence, to two men lying on banana lounges by a backyard pool.]

Deep Manly Voiceover: “The Neighbours. Jim Beam. The Bourbon.” [cuts to Jim Beam logo and website address.]

The Girlfriend transcript:

[A woman in skimpy spaghetti top singlet and blue short-shorts is sitting on a sofa in a home, holding forth about what she wants in a boyfriend. She is brunette, and has a really bad fake accent, which is possibly supposed to be Russian. She squirms provocatively as she speaks.]

Woman: “I like guys who haff – a little bit fat. A little bit – hairy back. I like guys ‘oo watch a lot of football, and go out with the boys. This is good thing. If I no get flowers, I not like, [whiny voice] ‘Oh poor me, I no get flowers.’ – this is so silly! I know they sometimes go to the, erm, strip-tease? But iss ok. I’m not jealous. He can do whateeeever he wants. I mean – I don’t care!”

Deep Manly Voiceover: “The Girlfriend. Jim Beam. The Bourbon.” [cuts to logo and website address”

The Tragedy transcript:

[Closeup on one woman, with full makeup, hoop earrings, and wavy long brown hair. She has an Anglo-Australian accent. Her manner is flirtatious.]

“Actually, I’ve never had a boyfriend.”

[Cut to longer shot. She is wearing a blue pinstripe dress, low-cut, with spaghetti straps, and appears to be standing in a pub, though the background is blurred.]

“No, I’ve just always preferred girls. I guess – I just find them more [inhales] fascinating?”

[Cut to shot of black vinyl bench seat. A woman with long blonde hair comes and sits down next to her. They sit close, hands on knees, arm around. The blonde woman gives a come-hither look directly at the camera, and strokes the brunette woman’s hair.]

“Yes, this is my girlfriend. I dunno who, but blokes just don’t do it for me. Well, I just – love girls!”

Deep Manly Voiceover: “The Tragedy. Jim Beam. The Bourbon.”

The Stalker transcript:

[A thin white woman with long brown curly hair sits alone at a bar. She wears a low cut black dress, and has drink in her hand. A barman is cleaning up in the background. As in all the other ads, the woman is thin, gorgeous, and flirts with the camera, squirming her shoulders around and tilting her head. Her voice, with an Anglo-Australian accent, is high-pitched, bringing to mind the stalker caricature from the Two and a Half Men sitcom.]

“Yeah, I’m single. I just broke up. Well, [rolls eyes], two years ago. You see the thing about restraining orders, [widens eyes], it’s just a piece of paper. Oh, I still see him though, but he doesn’t see meeee! [high pitched giggle. Leans forward, cleavage to camera] “I wear a disguise when I follow him.”

Deep Manly Voiceover: “The Stalker. Jim Beam. The Bourbon.”

Categories: gender & feminism

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34 replies

  1. Vile. As someone who watches a fair bit of NRL on Foxtel, I have been subjected to The Girlfriend and The Tragedy many, many, many times. I thought about writing to them in protest but never did. Have not seen The Neighbours and do not want to but I will do just that now. Ugh and double ugh.

  2. As there are two threads on this campaign I’ll keep my comment to this one.
    Jim Beam has form in the arena of gratuitously offensive advertisements. In 2005 there were two complaints against their “Stay True” campaign. One was upheld, the other dismissed. This is an excerpt from the ABAC’s (IMO) somewhat technical finding in the latter:

    While the website as a whole and the use of cowboy clothed ‘cheer girl’ type images of women might be considered by many to be juvenile and tacky, the Panel is unable to find the website, in the aspects complained of by Major Watters, in breach of the ABAC. The site has sexual overtones but the ABAC does not preclude the use of ‘sexy’ outfits or attractive women to promote alcohol products. What is prohibited is the suggestion that the alcohol product is the cause of or a contributor to the achievement of sexual success.

    The other complaint, which was upheld, was made against a different ad which featured a wrestling match between two men, the ABAC finding it directly associated alcohol and violence. (I would be interested to see this standard applied in particular to the “stalker” commercial you’ve written about, as clearly it associates the product with criminal behaviour).
    If you see a double-standard in the Code, so do I; and would like to see it broadened to discourage these kinds of poor-taste advertisements.

  3. Hmm. Moderator/admin: the third paragraph should be in blockquotes. My apologies.
    [sorted! ~tigtog]

  4. I want people to no longer want to make these sorts of advertisements, and I want a world in which this sort of crap is no longer appealing to consumers.
    ‘Til then, Codes are just attempting to push shit uphill with limp tweezers.

  5. *sighs*
    I want a world where lesbians aren’t “a tragedy”, a world where it isn’t acceptable for a major company to be so heterocentred and downright offensive.
    They do realise that some women and *gasp* LESBIANS actually drink their product right?
    An attitude I despise is the attitude that lesbians just need of some “deep dicking”. This ad is not too far off that kind of thinking.
    *vents a bit*

  6. Yes, Lauredhel, that’s a laudable aim, but personally, I love a contract and live by the law.
    To be clearer about my position: I stand for the distillers, and want them to sell more bourbon to more people. I dislike these advertisements because, being offensive in all the ways you’ve so well described, they fail to achieve the main aim of an advertisement; selling a product.
    I dislike these ads precisely because they are not appealing to consumers, as curiousities rightly points out, lesbians drink bourbon too. If Jim Beam want to alienate lesbians, not to say all women, they’ve picked just the right campaign to do it.
    I’m glad that in this case, whiskey-drinking feminists and I, the Devil, have found common cause. (Too bad Pat Buchanan is on to us).

  7. Thanks for collating the vile pieces of this ongoing outrage here.
    I was feeling similarly sickened and angry, so I got in touch with some of the people responsible – and I suggest you could too.
    The marketing director of Jim Beam Global Wine and Spirits is called James Sykes. The director of the ads is Kevin Macmillan from The Works Sydney. See http://www.bestadsontv.com/ad_details.php?id=5586
    Further googling should yield contact details.
    Industry self-regulation is rubbish. Foul-minded money-makers are polluting the world.
    As drop-in-the-bucket-ish as it might be, it’s worth letting them know that real people are being subjected to their toxic s*%t. And that we are angry about it.

  8. Not surprisingly, other discussion boards are also considering the finer points of the Jim Beam ads. (I don’t want to refer to this one by name in case that attracts its participants over here.) Among the erudite commentary that has emerged: One thoughtful contributor commented that, while the Stalker was “hot”, she had an “annoying voice”. Another responded that “She can’t talk with a c**k in her mouth.”
    Actually, I just read futher down that bulletin board and I can’t bring myself to copy what I read. I despair. This is evidence of a really horrifying culture of violence against women.

  9. *sigh* Yeah, that’s a good idea, lets make jokes about stalking, because stalking, and the ineffective pieces of paper they use to deal with stalkers are funneeee. (sarcasm alert)

  10. A friend and I got them to take down the disgusting thread at the web forum I mentioned before. I pestered the webmaster and my friend emailed their sponsors asking if they appreciated being linked with that muck. And now it’s gone! Unfortunately I have to report that the other 99.9999999999 etc % of woman-hating foulness in the world still exists.

  11. Still…GO YOU!!!! That’s effing awesome!

  12. Responder, good for you. Small actions all add up.

  13. Why thank you! It’s good to have your support. Keep up the great blogging!

  14. After reading some of the comments made about the Jim Beam tv adds, I’m wondering where some of you girls are to support me every time Sex and the City is played on tv or Brad Pitt decides to take his shirt off in the latest action film.
    Thankfully for our society it is a small group of social outcasts that hold these strong opinions.

  15. Malcolm: I don’t think we have any girls here. But I’ll be happy to beam you a tissue next time Pitt’s nipples upset you.

  16. No more Jim Beam for me!

    More than likely, it was an independant marketing company that was responsible for this mess (something you should look into, for the purpose of firing off angry letters), but Jim Beam should not have put their stamp of approval on this.

  17. I don’t have much to add to all the comments made so far, but as the transcripts of the ads were enough to make me feel sick, I’m glad I haven’t seen them.
    I don’t see how this could ever be compared to Sex in the City or a shirtless Brad Pitt, and frankly, I find the attempt insulting and yet another example of a man trying to co-opt the argument.

  18. Oh, Malcolm’s a troll. His comment was vaguely amusing on some levels, so I allowed it. His Hollaback “report” on his own particular wankfantasy, set in Mt Isa? Not so much.

  19. Oh, okay then. I suppose I’m used to Trolls being unable to construct proper sentences and/or spell and/or use capital letters 😉
    At least, that’s the shape they took on the political forums where I used to reside. That will teach me (again) not to generalise on teh internets!

  20. There we go, I just marked his comment with the Troll Gravatar to make it clearer to others.

  21. Cheers tig – good plan. I might have to go have some more fun with that.

  22. It would be a terrible, terrible shame if these nasty ‘minority’ ideas about respect caught on wouldn’t it trollboy?

  23. Methinks the troll grav needs to be less adorable. Though it rather suits.

  24. The arguments presented on this site are completely one sided.
    I never said that I have no respect for women, if I didn’t I wouldn’t be married to one.
    I just find it completely amazing that so mauch drama can be created over this advertising caimpaign when a show such as Sex and the City ran for years and had four girls treating guys like meat.
    Lauredhel: As for the repot I wrote to hollaback it was certainly no fantasy. Although I’m sure a lot of people on this site would assume that all guys would love to have women flocking over them regardless of the girls appearance or personal hygiene.
    I actually have a great concern about some of the reports that have been written there as in my life when I have seen some type of unuausal behaviour like what is described in the reports it being done by someone who is suffering mental illness or has a drug addiction. Perhaps more energy should be put into the cause of these problems rather than victimise people who perhaps are unable to defend themselves or are not completely in control of their actions.
    I will say it again the site seems from first view to be the home of a small fringe group minority that have another agenda rather than simply gaining respect for who there are.
    There are millions of children out there starving how about putting the resources into something constructive.

  25. You’ve never actually watched SatC, have you Malcolm?
    Anyway, toodle-oo. I imagine you’re very busy saving starving children. Thanks for giving us some of your precious time.

  26. I have no problem with the ads, I find them very amusing.
    I think people need to lighten up, you are what is wrong with society, not the ads
    [Mod note: I’m just gonna keep on publishing these little Bingo douchewhimsies from time to time, if no one objects, so long as they’re not personally abusive to anyone but me. Just as a reminder as to how prevalent and empty-headed this particular variety of plonker is. As if any of us needed such a thing. To the OP: I recommend a squiz at our comments policy, and more than a squiz at Finally A Feminism 101 Blog. ~L]

  27. *You are what is wrong with society*
    Yes, there *is* a real wave of critical engagement with the media, an epidemic of feminists saying ‘I don’t think that stalking is funny’ and it’s causing *all kinds* of social evils…like…like…like…

  28. Whts th mttr wth ll y hr bshpg fmnz dyks? fl srr fr y ll bcs bvsl yr stpd, s lt m xpln t y hw ths wrks. Prtt wmn mk mn b prdcts lk Jm Bm, gl wmn (mch lk yrslvs) mk mn drnk Jm Bm. Th thng dnt ndrstnd s wh d y cr? n ns pttng gn t yr hd nd frcng y t b th prdct s th clsst cn fthm s tht y lzzs r hvng yt nthr btch stb t mn. Gt lf
    [Disemvowelled. ~L]

  29. while i agree that the ads perpetuate a terrible view of women in our society, i disagree with how this discussion seems to have jumped on everyone who’s posed a different opinion. i think that’s what melanie meant when she said “you are what’s wrong with society”. rather, not engaging with someones arguments is what’s wrong with society. this isn’t a mistake i believe you habitually make,
    maybe a discussion of either this is the male equivalent of ‘sex and the city’ (which i don’t think it is), rather than ad hominum (‘you’ve clearly never watched sex and the city’ etc.) attacks are the more noble option. i don’t think malcolm’s comment deserved the response it did. he raised a point, it should have been dealt with differently.

  30. it should have been dealt with differently.

    Myriam, you’re right here; answer his comment however you like, within the bounds of our Comments Policy.

  31. Is ‘you’ve clearly never watched SatC’ an ad hominem attack?
    fuckpolitenesss last blog post..Just when I thought I had nothing to write about…

  32. Myriam, Malcolm’s first comment was let through and not especially bothered with. He then submitted a troll contribution to another blog that Lauredhel admins, and only then was he labelled a troll (i.e. after doing something very obviously trollish).
    It’s simply not worth engaging with someone seriously after they’ve outed themselves as just another troll. It only encourages them.


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