Around about 3 years ago I was promoted to Lifestyle editor at Menswear Style. A title I still proudly maintain. Effectively that meant switching from freelancer, to freeloader. At every press event on reception I would be handed a cocktail, a whisky, a whatever. I thought it was Christmas. I’d consume as much free booze as I could get my grubby hands on and pass out on the night train back to Huntingdon. One night in my drunken stupor I got off at the wrong stop and with no way of getting home, slept in a disused filing cabinet at Hitchin station.
For years I’ve been involved in a multiple of campaigns promoting alcoholic beverages such as Heineken, Macallan, Chivas Regal, Jagermeister, Johnnie Walker, it’s an endless reel.
But why have predominantly Menswear bloggers moved over to flogging alcohol? Why are the likes of Johnnie Walker paying ‘X’ to run sponsored Instagram ads featuring bloggers holding a glass of their liquid next to their bottle? In most cases, a full bottle. (It lacks a certain verisimilitude don’t you think promoting a drinks company, holding a drink next to an unopened bottle of said drink?)
One reason is that the drinks industry has considerably more money than the fashion industry, it’s growing exponentially and like the car industry, they have a surplus that is burning their pocket.
UK Menswear Fashion industry is worth £14 billion to the UK economy.
UK Alcoholic Beverages industry is worth £46 Billion to the UK economy.
Listen to me give advice on giving up alcohol on the Human Research Podcast
In short, Lifestyle is a fallacious nebulous term that was invented (way before Instagram) to homogenise different industry sectors such as Drinks, Design, Fashion, Motor, Perfume and so on.
Now all that is fine. I don’t particularly mind the drinks industry looking to splash the cash and experiment with influencers and same with my influencer friends cashing in on these opportunities. But is drinking alcohol a good ‘lifestyle’ choice? Are the connotations of alcohol something to aspire to? Will you magically start looking like Beckham if you drink Haig Club? What does drinking alcohol symbolise and what fucking good is it doing, really?
Some lifestyle brands align themselves with an ideology. Patagonia proposes an environmentally friendly way of life with upcycling their products. GOOD. Nike used to just make running shoes. But over time, the company and its logo has become associated with the athletic subculture. FINE.
How is drinking Heineken going to get you further down the road? I used to drink Heineken because it was James Bonds’ beer in Skyfall. Bond drinks Heineken when he’s down and out, on a beach, just before downing shots with scorpions on his hand. No wonder I woke up in a filing cabinet in Hitchen.
I will no longer be running any drinks campaign on Human Research. Out of respect to the brands I have worked with in the past I won’t be deleting old blogs or campaign imagery. But it’s simply not congruent with ‘my lifestyle’ anymore to be involved with these campaigns.
What do you think? Leave the comments in the box below. Bloggers, particularly Menswear Bloggers I’d love to hear from you.