Ab Inbev, Carling Black Label, and Femicide in South Africa (A)

4 Pages Posted: 23 Jan 2019

See all articles by Bidhan L. Parmar

Bidhan L. Parmar

University of Virginia - Darden School of Business

Jenny Mead

University of Virginia - Darden School of Business

Abstract

Alarmed by the recent statistics of violence against women (a woman in South Africa was murdered every four hours, and half of them were killed by their partner or spouse), leaders of the African arm of global beer giant Anheuser-Busch InBev (AB InBev) and the South African Breweries (SAB) wanted to address the problem. AB InBev's biggest seller in South Africa was Carling Black Label (Carling), a brand with a traditionally masculine appeal. In considering different options, the company had to consider what obligation it had to ensure responsible consumption and, perhaps, to utilize Carling to challenge the public to recognize and change behaviors. How could the company use brand activism, for example, to effect social change. Should they consider other issues? In short, what role could AB InBev play in taking action against domestic violence? Should it provide funding, create partnerships with the government or nongovernmental organizations, or develop some sort of initiative?

Excerpt

UVA-E-0425

Jan. 7, 2019

AB InBev, Carling Black Label, and Femicide in South Africa (A)

Andrea Quaye, vice president of marketing at the African arm of global beer giant Anheuser-Busch InBev (AB InBev) and the South African Breweries (SAB), was alarmed by the 2015 statistics. South African society had struggled for years with domestic violence issues, but in recent years, the incidents of femicide—the killing of women and girls by their husbands, partners, or family members—in South Africa had grown to five times greater than the global average. The newspapers had been full of lurid stories. Earlier in the year, a Johannesburg woman, Karabo Mokoena, had been killed by her ex-lover, but she was only one of many victims whose stories appeared frequently in the media. Many factors were blamed for these murders, including general lawlessness, easily available guns, low self-esteem on the part of many South African men, and alcohol misuse. ABInBev's biggest seller in South Africa was Carling Black Label (Carling), a brand with a traditionally masculine appeal. With its high visibility, Carling might be the entry point, whether via a targeted campaign or other endeavor, for addressing the violence. Quaye and her team needed to determine what role, if any, ABInBev and Carling should play in addressing this social ill. There was pressure on companies both in South Africa and internationally to respond to this and other social issues. Where exactly did AB InBev's responsibility lie, and how could the company best utilize its resources, financial or other, to ameliorate the drastic situation?

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Keywords: social responsibility, ethical behavior, brand activism, ethics, business ethics, South Africa, domestic violence, femicide, governmental partnerships, organizational partnerships, global food and beverage, Carling Black Label

Suggested Citation

Parmar, Bidhan L. and Mead, Jenny, Ab Inbev, Carling Black Label, and Femicide in South Africa (A). Darden Case No. UVA-E-0425. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3320833

Bidhan L. Parmar (Contact Author)

University of Virginia - Darden School of Business ( email )

P.O. Box 6550
Charlottesville, VA 22906-6550
United States

Jenny Mead

University of Virginia - Darden School of Business ( email )

P.O. Box 6550
Charlottesville, VA 22906-6550
United States

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