Lady Marketing

February 13, 2018

Ladies, aren’t you tired of how having a vagina is making so many things unnecessarily complicated? I am. Often times when I hear/read/see things like the subject of this column, I wonder if I am under-medicated and if these things are really happening because they are so farking ridiculous.

You know how that trailer for Crocodile Dundee 4 DID very cleverly (and VERY successfully) turn out to be a hoax and was in fact an ad screened during the Superbowl for Tourism Australia? When I read recently about the supposed advent of the “Lady Chip”, naturally I also assumed this was a gag/publicity stunt but apparently it WAS A REAL THING.

The premise was that because women hate eating chips that are ‘noisy’ (stay with me) PepsiCo were making a chip that didn’t crunch too loudly.

WTF? The CEO of PepsiCo explained this complex problem during a podcast advising that help was on the way in the form of female-friendly snacks – which I assume means the packaging will be pink and have diamantes somewhere – such as chips that crunch more quietly, nay! more daintily than your current loud, garden variety chip.

When I read the article, Indra Nooyi (the CEO) offered this explanation for the Lady Chip:

“As you watch a lot of the young guys eat the chips, they love their Doritos, and they lick their fingers with great glee, and when they reach the bottom of the bag they pour the little broken pieces into their mouth, because they don’t want to lose that taste of the flavour, and the broken chips in the bottom.*

“Women would love to do the same, but they don’t.** They don’t like to crunch too loudly in public.*** And they don’t lick their fingers generously and they don’t like to pour the little broken pieces and the flavour into their mouth.”****

*Yeah that sounds about right

**Says who? Where is the evidence/research that backs this up?

***Again, anything to support this claim?

****Blah blah blah…

Ms Nooyi went on to clarify that that product itself is THE SAME

“It’s not a male and female [version of the chip] as much as ‘are there snacks for women that can be designed and packaged differently?’

“And yes, we are looking at it, and we’re getting ready to launch a bunch of them soon. For women, low-crunch, the full taste profile, not have so much of the flavour stick on the fingers, and how can you put it in a purse? Because women love to carry a snack in their purse.”*****

***** I have never carried a snack in my purse that I can recall. Nor do my friends. Tupperware containers for snack for the kids – absolutely, but that’s not the same thing.

I wondered if this woman was a Stepford CEO so I did a little research of my own. Turns out Ms Nooyi went to Yale amongst other places, earns millions and millions of dollars annually and is consistently named as one of the most powerful and influential women in business.  I’m stunned by her comments – she can’t really believe this crap can she? Even if it was just a clever ploy to get coverage – which it has, globally – it still makes PepsiCo look bad and completely out of touch. This is where social media really comes into its own. The backlash has been ferocious. As it bloody should be.

Given how much focus there currently is on the pay gap between the sexes not to mention to the sexual harassment movement, I was genuinely surprised by such a massive misstep by one of the world’s biggest and most recognisable companies.

The icing on the cake would have been if they charged more for these lady chips. Mind you the Pink Tax is nothing new. Take a stroll down the toiletries aisle next time you’re in the supermarket and you’ll see that sadly the gender pay gap is alive and well. Women’s razors (pink) vs. men’s – more expensive but the same product essentially – same with the shaving cream, hair removal creams, deodorant, even socks! Men have BIGGER FEET – shouldn’t they be more? My Frusband’s dry cleaning was always cheaper than mine and we both wore suits.

I know it’s rife across society now but somewhere I was really gobsmacked by the blatant emotional manipulation of Girls vs. Boys was when I was at Pony Club recently. I grew up in small country town and I rode horses from the age of five. Loved it. Still do.

My lazy, hopeless non-Horsey friend roped me in to turn out her daughter’s horse (prepare it for competition – wash and blow dry it, braid its mane and tail, oil its coat, checkerboard stencil pattern on its rump, paint it’s hooves etc..) and my friend’s daughter had pink glittery EVERYTHING. From bridles to saddle cloths to lead rope to brush kit. You name it – it was pink and glittery. Now, as any Horsey parent or person will tell you, absolutely none of this stuff comes cheaply. My friend’s daughter was very helpful and at one point handed me the (pink and glittery) hoof pick to clean her horse’s hooves. Do you know what I had for a hood pick? An old Philip’s head screwdriver! I know kids who would use a stick! Sheeeeeshhh. SIDEBAR: Did I sound old then? Like “back in my day…”

As I finish writing this column I see that PepsiCo has released a statement regarding the Lady Chip debacle no doubt due to the absolute flogging they have received via digital channels.

PepsiCo has since confirmed that the brand will not be launching a male and female version of Doritos.

“We already have Doritos for women – they’re called Doritos, and they’re enjoyed by millions of people every day,” the company said in a statement.

“At the same time, we know needs and preferences continue to evolve and we’re always looking for new ways to engage and delight our consumers.”

Amen to that Sister!

Alexandria Bernard on BloggerAlexandria Bernard on Twitter
Alexandria Bernard
With a successful 20+ year career in media and communications, Alex’s media portfolio includes contracts as a radio and television presenter (612 ABC, 4BC, Channel 9 and Network Ten) and as a feature writer for bmag and Brisbane Times.

Alex's voice and face may be familiar to you from her voiceover and television commercial work. She has been featured in national radio and TV advertising campaigns, corporate videos and has been a regular MC for major events.