Sexualized Alcohol Marketing, Precarious Work and Gendered Sexual Risks: Explorations of Women Beer Promoters in Benin City, Nigeria
The alcohol industry in Nigeria uses sophisticated marketing strategies to influence alcohol use, and alcohol marketing regulations do not exist. This study examined the alcohol industry‘s strategy of using young women to promote beer in Benin City, Nigeria, and how sexualized beer marketing, as precarious employment, creates a context of risk for sexual exploitation.
The researchers conducted interviews and focus groups with beer promoters and their patrons and analyzed data thematically.
Some of the criteria for recruiting beer promoters include confidence, physical beauty, intelligence, and outspokenness. Beer promoters narrated that young women are mainly employed to promote beer as a strategy to convince men to buy more alcohol. Beer promoters cited the relatively high salary as their motivation for accepting to promote beer but highlighted multiple risks associated with this precarious work.
- Promoters close late at night, and no provisions are made for their transport to their homes.
- Most male customers perceive beer promoters as sex workers and thus, attempt to persuade them to spend the night with them.
- Promoters also face physical and sexual harassment through unwanted contact and advances and are instructed to condone such behaviors during training.
This strategy ‘sexualizes’ beer marketing and exposes beer promoters to health and social risks because they may be coerced into unwanted relationships as a condition for some men to purchase their brands (or sell more and meet their targets). There is a need to implement alcohol policies in Nigeria and tailor responses to beer promoters‘ unique risks.