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Sexism and equality in wine packaging

What do you think is most suggestive?

  • Stylised pouting lips and the name “Wacky Chicks”, or
  • A young girl with a flimsy skirt (petticoat?), with a wistful man with a flower, and the name “Untouched”?
Wacky Chicks Label

Wacky Chicks Label

A while back we told you the story of a Swedish wine importer that had had his wine banned from the shelves of Systembolaget because the label and the name, in the view of Systembolaget:

“give the impression, in our opinion, that alcohol consumption raises the physical or mental capabilities, contributes to social or sexual success or solves problems such as loneliness or boredom.”

The wine was removed from the Systembolaget shelves. (Note: Systembolaget has the monopoly on retail sales of wines and spirits in Sweden.) The decision was also supported by the trade appointed ombudsman for the alcohol trade “alkoholgranskningsmannen”.

We recently saw a full page advertisement in a Swedish wine magazine for a wine called “Untouched” imported by Primewine (or “Untouched by Girasol rosé” to give the full name). It is a bag-in-box wine so there is plenty of space on the packaging to print graphics.

Untouched Rose all sides

Untouched Rose all sides

The photo on the front shows a young girl, dressed in what looks like a partially see-through dress, who looks as if she has barely come out of her teens. On one of the sides there is a man with a flower in his hand, smiling, with the text “the hopeful rival”. On the back side there is a photo of a lonely, sad-looking man with the text “alone in love”, apparently walking away ofter a failed seduction attempt. And on the fourth side there is the girl together with another man and the text “picking real love”. (Big picture below)

One can also speculate over what the name “Untouched” is supposed to mean. It is not very far-fetched to see it as an allusion to the girl and her youth. (The packaging has been designed by the marketing consultancy Motherland.)

The importer Multibev, that is a subsidiary of Primewine AB, says in its communication “you haven’t missed the little love story on the box, have you?”

The Systembolaget retailing monopoly has the wine in its list but has chosen to show the more innocent back side of the box rather than the young girl at the front. A coincidence? Or for what reason?

Evidently the Systembolaget does not consider a lightly clad, half-dressed young girl and a love story as a problem. We cannot help wondering which of the packagings come closest to “give the impression, in our opinion, that alcohol consumption raises the physical or mental capabilities, contributes to social or sexual success or solves problems such as loneliness or boredom.” Or are there different norms for big selling bag-in-boxes (“Sweden’s best selling rosé”) and for bottles that are only stocked in the niche on-order list?

So, our question to you is: Which of the two packagings do you think is most playing on sex, success, and solved problems with loneliness and boredom? Which is most targeted at a younger consumer?

What’s your opinion? Write a comment!

Untouched by Girasol rose bag in box

Untouched by Girasol rose bag in box

This post is also available in: Swedish

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2 Responses to Sexism and equality in wine packaging

  1. Arnaud September 9, 2011 at 09:04 #

    If they wan’t the industry to remain “self-regulated”, I think wine producers must be aware of the rules, and must not “give the impression, in our opinion, that alcohol consumption raises the physical or mental capabilities, contributes to social or sexual success or solves problems such as loneliness or boredom”

    If they don’t, anti-alcohol laws will be reinforced, as it is in France.

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  1. BKWine Brief nr 101, January 2012 | BKWine Magazine - January 27, 2012

    […] the Month Restaurants and Wine Bars, BKWine PickAn enjoyable trip to Paris – some recommendations Sexism and equality in wine packagingWine Region articlesThe dangers of inviting your friends over to share a bottle of wine Or if you […]

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