Project: Canadian Club – Your Mom Had Groupies

Warning: There are some thumbnail-sized, somewhat NSFW images after the jump

by guest contributor Michelle Schwartz, originally published at Michelle Schwartz Chronicles

In honor of Mother’s Day, Stark and I have been working on a multimedia project. I’m hoping that it can really grow and expand, and that lots of people will participate. Here are the basics:

While I was out for a run recently, I saw a new ad for Canadian Club Whisky. The campaign is called “Damn Right Your Dad Drank It,” and features photos of white men doing manly things circa the Seventies. There are several of these ads. One reads “Your Dad Wasn’t A Metrosexual,” another reads “Your Mom Wasn’t Your Dad’s First.” The one that really annoyed me was “Your Dad Had Groupies.”

Here are the ads, click on the thumbnails to enlarge:


You can see some of their ads on the street here, including “Your Dad Had a Van for a Reason.” Ew, that one is just gross.

I find this campaign offensive on so many levels. First of all, if Canadian Club is attempting to change their image to increase sales, I find it odd that they are being so exclusionary with their re-branding. Apparently, the only people invited to the Canadian Club Club are White Males, Ages 18-30, women and people of color need not apply. It’s not that surprising to me that a company is aiming at that small demographic, but the way they’re doing it is truly offensive. Basically, they are appealing to men who miss the days (whether or not they were born yet) of grabbing the asses of their secretaries, playing a few rounds at the all-white private golf club, and then going home to their wives, the happy homemakers who would mix them drinks, cook them dinner, and wait on them hand and foot. None of this women’s lib, civil rights, limp-wristed liberal bullshit that men are expected to follow these days. No, let’s go back to the days of rampant sexual harassment, before women could expect to be seen as equals and before the gays turned all those masculine men into pansies with waxed eyebrows. Let’s return to the days when men were men. Please.

Adding insult to injury, visitors to the site are invited to “Put your own dad (or yourself or your friends) into one of our Damn Right ads. It’s downright easy to do, and when you’re done you can download your ad and send it to your friends.” This Ad Maker is where I got the idea for the following project: I was going to remake the ads, but with women. Women who were old enough to be my mom or my grandmother, and with tag lines like “Your Mom Didn’t Shave Her Legs” or “Your Grandma Built Fighter Jets.” The first one I made was “Your Mom Had Groupies.” I included a selection of female musicians that I love, some that were well known, others that were not. Here is my version of the Canadian Club Damn Right ad (click the image to see a larger version):

The musicians are, starting at the top and going counterclockwise:The Raincoats, an all female post-punk band, who started making music in the late Seventies. Here’s their page on YouTube.
Jesse Mae Hemphill, blues artist and electric guitar innovator. Watch her sing “You Can Talk About Me” on YouTube.
The Go-Go’s, all-girl rock band. Reunited after so many years, check out their homepage.
Precious Bryant, Southern blues singer songwriter. Visit her website.
Joan Armatrading, English singer songwriter. Visit her website. Watch on YouTube.

Okay, so that’s the end of my contribution. Here’s where the fun participatory multimedia project comes in. As I was working on my version of the Canadian Club ad, I thought, “Hey, wouldn’t it be great if lots of people made new versions of the ad, just like Canadian Club intended, but replacing all the men with women that they find inspiring or influential or whom they love?” So I’m throwing this out to all of you – make a new Canadian Club poster. Put together a “Your Mom Had Groupies” poster with your own set of female musicians. Who would you pick and why? You can make your own poster, or you can just leave a comment, telling me who you would choose, or posting a song that you love. To make it easier, I’ve made a template that you can download. Click to download the larger file:


Here’s the whisky glass to add as a new layer when you’re done putting in new photos.If you want to play with the other ads, that would be fantastic as well. Put in photos of your own mom, make up new catch phrases, anything at all. Maybe at the end we can send what we have created to Canadian Club and show them how much potential business they’ve lost by not making even one ad catering to women, or we can post our own ads around cities, showing our disgust with the campaign. If I get enough musical selections together I might make up a playlist that will be available for download. So, go forth and be creative! Whatever you make, you can post it wherever you like, but leave a link or an image as a comment here, so that I can pull everything together.And we now have some of the first reader contributions to the fake Canadian Club campaign (click for larger versions):


“Your Mom Built Fighter Jets” was made by my partner Stark“Your Mom Had Groupies” was made by Robbie, from the fantastic music blog Womenfolk (featuring appearances by Cyndi Lauper, Nina Simone, Chrissie Hynde, Stevie Nicks and Kim Carnes)“Your Mom Wasn’t A Stepford,” “Your Mom Played Sports,” “Your Mom Was A Pilot,” “Your Dad Wasn’t Your Mom’s First,” and “Your Mom Wasn’t Your Dad’s First” were made by Photoshop addict Trancer21“Your Dad Was A Real Man” was made by Wonko.“Your Dad Wasn’t Your Mom’s First was made by Coolbyrne.