Consumer alienation

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Ok, so on my college campus I came across this candy bar.

I have never seen anything so openly sexist, so I had to look it up and I found this article. I am really surprised it’s been on the market for so long and that it has received only small amounts of opposition. All I know is that I’m going to put in a complaint at my college store. Hopefully someone will listen, but you know, #MFIF

Meghan, USA

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20 Responses to “Consumer alienation”

  1. skyhawkmkiv Says:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Yorkie_%28chocolate_bar%29

    This should give you the entire story fairly accurately. Still ridiculous, though.

  2. sarcastichonesty Says:

    I believe there are chocolate bars like that being sold by Nestle in various parts of Eastern Europe. Apparently chocolate is traditionally considering a dessert/treat for females and Nestle decided they needed to get that “other half” of the market to buy their products so they packaged chocolate bars that were labeled as “mens only” with a similar female figure crossed out on the actual chocolate itself.

    Awfully sad to see a chocolate company stoop to such lows to get consumers.

  3. mryan91 Says:

    And of course they try to counteract the sexism with a pink wrapper version, as if that makes it better and not worse.

  4. slackermagee Says:

    The dark side: cynical marketing.

    The bright side: absolutely delicious. Truly a remarkable chocolate bar.

  5. flossiesdoll Says:

    I’m a big Yorkie fan, especially the raisin & biscuit one (purple wrapper) and I don’t have a problem with the advert. Yorkies were traditionally advertised as being a big enough bar for truckers and other people expected to be burly men. This Not For Girls campaign is just taking that a bit further. It’s just funny. They aren’t seriously saying girls aren’t allowed to buy it.

    • jesurgislac Says:

      So what? So long as they’re promoting it via a sexist marketing campaign, I’m not going to buy it.

      Funny thing is, I used to like Yorkies. I probably wouldn’t now, I haven’t eaten one in nine years.

      Never could figure out why any company would want to deliberately alienate half their potential market, but if they want to, fine: I just won’t buy it.

  6. yamikuronue Says:

    I ran into this as well. Didn’t find it funny at all.

  7. kimcleaton Says:

    Meh, it’s sexist for sure, but it’s still just an advertising ploy. I agree with flossiesdoll.

  8. beastybea Says:

    Hi,

    I’m just throwing this in: The advertising team who came up with this campaign was majority female. The ad was meant to be ironic. As someone said above, it is in reaction to the old ads about truckers.

    “Despite Yorkie having a strong positioning as the masculine bar, the representation of masculinity consumers associated with Yorkie was outdated and thus lacked relevance – the issue of relevance being of critical importance in an impulse-driven category such as countline confectionery. This lack of relevance was translated into declining penetration for the brand.

    “Thus, in order to ensure Yorkie’s long-term survival in the highly competitive confectionery market, the brand was required to reassert its masculinity in a way that was appealing and motivating for today’s consumer.

    Hence, the campaign. Its objective was “to reclaim Yorkie as the chocolate for men.” Its research revealed “key consumer insights”:

    “1. Society is moving towards ‘re-genderization’. Beyond feminism and beyond androgyny, people are examining the different values men and women can bring to a society: ‘Vive la différence’. Men love being men – and women appreciate and/or are amused by the differences. Coupled with this is increasing gender equality. PC boundaries have therefore changed and humour is once again exploring ‘men being men’

    “2. The rise of feminism has led to a decreased role for men today. The media are constantly reminding us of the increasing success of women in today’s society. Whether it’s better reading ability of girls at primary school or female graduates now getting better degrees than men, the rise of the woman, particularly to men, seems unstoppable. With women now having the gall even to drink pints (of Guinness!), you have to agree with one respondent who said, ‘There aren’t many things a man can look at and say, “that’s for me”.’” –
    Marketing Communications (Via http://veethemonsoon.wordpress.com/2004/07/02/nestle-uks-yorkie-is-not-for-girls/)

    “The tv ads show women attempting to purchase the chunky chocolate bar – but the only way they can do this is by glueing on fake beards, dressing up as builders with hard hats, and swaggering into corner shops asking (in deep, gruff, fake-male voice) for a ‘Yorkie please.’ In one ad, the large, bearded, super-gruff male shopkeeper ‘tests’ the woman to prove she is a man, by quizzing her on stereotypically male questions, thrusting a fake spider in her face to see if she screams, and so on. He finally hands the bar over, but when he tells her th[at] it really highlights the blue in her eyes, she gasps ‘really?’ and he snatches the Yorkie out of her hands and bites off a huge, masculine chunk in one go.”

    “The Yorkie ads, on tv and posters, used the slogans ‘It’s not for girls’, ‘don’t feed the birds’, ‘not available in pink’ and ‘King size, not Queen size.’ Interestingly, the campaign even affected the design of the bar itself, seemingly intended to literally stop women buying the bar in the real world. The ‘O’ in Yorkie has been altered into a ‘no go’ road sign, with a line cutting through a woman symbol. The bar also has the phrase ‘not for girls’ on it.”

    Obviously I’m not saying that you shouldn’t be offended, or that it isn’t sexist. I’m just upping the information levels.

  9. clarisinda Says:

    It’s been a long running campaign here in the UK, but I can see how it’s a bit of a shock if you’ve not come across it before. Personally I used to love Yorkies, but they changed their chocolate and they don’t taste very good now 😦 The marketing campaign put me off somewhat too though. It’s supposed to be tongue in cheek, but not everyone is that sensitive to the difference, so to many I’m sure it says casual sexism is fine :-/

    Tbh, it’s a very good campaign, in that it gets people talking about their product – which you’ve just proved.

  10. flossiesdoll Says:

    Yorkie used to be made by Rowntree of York, until Rowntree (like so many British chocolate companies) were bought out by evil multinational Nestlé. When Yorkie was a Rowntree product, the advertising campaigns were all about how such a big heavy chunky chocolate bar was the best type of chocolate for big burly men driving big heavy lorries for stupidly long distances. As I understand it, Rowntree were deliberately marketing it as a “macho” chocolate suitable for men, because so much chocolate marketing had been targeted at women. The “not for girls” campaign is a humorous step further than the lorry campaigns, exaggerated to the point of ridiculousness. I can see that if you weren’t familiar with the product and its previous marketing – and you probably wouldn’t be, because I doubt you could get Yorkie abroad until Rowntree were bought by Nestlé – you might not get it, but I don’t believe there’s anything sexist about it.

    • jesurgislac Says:

      I can see that if you weren’t familiar with the product and its previous marketing – and you probably wouldn’t be, because I doubt you could get Yorkie abroad until Rowntree were bought by Nestlé – you might not get it,

      Huh? British here; like chocolate. Certainly USED to like Yorkies, till they started this ugly campaign against women in 2001.

      I get it: it’s a misogynistic campaign intended to make men feel macho by buying chocolate. It’s hateful to women because companies think they can get away with that, and mostly they’re right. The only thing anyone can do in response is just quit buying their products. Of course it’s sexist.

  11. marchioness Says:

    It doesn’t matter if the campaign was developed by women. Note this:

    “[…] the brand was required to reassert its masculinity in a way that was appealing and motivating for today’s consumer.”

    Hmm, who would you be targeting if you were reasserting masculinity? Maybe… men? (Oh yes, they even say that!) Also, why would reasserting masculinity work as an effective marketing campaign? Maybe… because hegemonic masculinity is prized in this culture? The quotes that beastybea posted don’t even make sense, and if anything reinforce the fact that this marketing campaign is blatant sexist drivel.

    “[…] – you might not get it, but I don’t believe there’s anything sexist about it.”

    I don’t think “not getting it” is the issue. I understand the intention of the campaign perfectly – despite being a humorless feminist. (Chocolate is for ladies! If men eat chocolate they look like pussies, so let’s make “man chocolate” so they can buy our sugary crap and not feel emasculated!) The problem is that it’s a) not actually funny, and b) at the expense of women, which means it’s sexist garbage.

    (Conversely, chocolate marketed to women is not at the expense of men. It is also at the expense of women, if you look at the fact that chocolate is marketed as an “indulgence” for women who shouldn’t be eating chocolate on the regular, lest they become fat hags.)

    • xchx Says:

      Completely agree.

      Goodness, the “2.” section of beastybea’s read like a section out of Backlash by Susan Falludi. Women are making slight progress means that men are now victims and need to reclaim their power! Except they forgot about all the problems like women making less money, have less political influence, and surviving more sex and domestic violence crimes. But totally, there’s no place for men in this world.

      And why is it that a product that is stereotypically liked by women so devalued that men shouldn’t even think about buying it?

      Why isn’t this seen as more problematic??

  12. flossiesdoll Says:

    Well, you and others might think it’s not actually funny, but I and others disagree. I think it is funny, and I don’t think it’s sexist – and I am also a humourless feminist. So there you go, difference of opinion.

    • marchioness Says:

      I say green means stop, and others agree with me; you say green means go, and others agree with you. Yes, a difference of opinion, but one opinion is supported by facts and the other is not.

      At the very least, to say “this is not sexist,” provide examples that this marketing campaign wasn’t created in a patriarchal culture where anything associated with women is, like xchx notes, devalued. The dissociation of the chocolate from women works because being “feminine” is seen as less-than.

      • slackermagee Says:

        Or it could be that it was made by a British company for a British market that seems to value and cherish sarcasm, wit, and subtle humor more than the one I currently reside in across the pond.

        Either or.

    • jesurgislac Says:

      I’m British. I quit buying Yorkies the minute they started the campaign. I’ve never bought one since. It’s sexist, it’s unfunny, and it’s negative marketing.

  13. bright24 Says:

    ditto jesurgislac. I’m British, loved Yorkies, stopped buying them after this piece of crap advertising. Stopped buying them for other people as well so that’s even more lost revenue! Backfire, Yorkie knobheads!

    ‘Girls’ is traditionally used as a pejorative when juxtaposed with ‘men’, and the advertising campaign makes it very clear (remember the bloody TV advert http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LH2pLzdeCP0&NR=1) that femaleness is ignorance about sport, liking flowers, not being ‘manly’, not having a sense of humour, being afraid of things, and that it is shameful for a man to be associated with femaleness. This chocolate bar doesn’t want to be associated with femaleness or women.
    Plus the advertising twits are conflating gender and sex. People of the female sex don’t have to be ‘girly’ (and girliness is negative for a man) and people of the male sex don’t have to be burly, hyper-masculine…er, truckers.

    It’d be funny if we lived in a post-sexist, post-feminist society because everyone would know we were KIDDING! But in the same way that ‘ironic’ sexism in the mainstream culture can kiss my arse, THIS ‘ironic’ sexism can also kiss my arse. Form a queue, advertising agencies.

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