Tuesday 16 September 2014

Sugar, spice, slugs and snails

Seeing these German gender-specified crisps recently got me thinking about the whole area of gender marketing. I'm not talking about who you target your campaign at, but at product development itself. And I get the impression there's much more of it about these days.

Now, there are plenty of products and brands out there that target men or women specifically, with pretty good reason in the main. Toiletries and clothes, perfume and cosmetics are all areas where there are male products and female products (including the oddly named "boyfriend jeans" for which there seems to be no equivalent for men who might fancy the "just squeezed into my girlfriend's jeans" look once in a while.)

And there have always been attempts into cigarettes and beer specially for women. Do Kim ciggies still exist?

But the area where the gender-specific stuff seems to be have really taken off in the last few years is the area of children's products. I don't remember such a preponderance of pink and purple when I was little. Lego, for instance, has gone girly mad with its Friends series, leaving the boys (one presumes) to their Star Wars and Transformers. And in the books market, the Die Drei ??? (The Three Investigators) have been joined by Die Drei !!!

After 50 years of the boy detectives solving mysteries, I can only guess that the girls were called in to solve such tricky cases as Duel of the Top Models, Cheating in the Casting Show, Danger in the Fitness Club and The Mobile Phone Case.

Of course, when I was young, there were stories specified for boys or girls too, but the girls didn't have to to be styled up like Germany's Next Top Model to have adventures. And note that the title is not pink, it's blue:

Which brings me back to the crisps. OK, there were always certain brands of comestibles that positioned themselves for men, or women (Yorkie). But I always assumed that was ironic. 

The Chio Chips  above come in the variants Mädelsabend and Männerabend (Girls'/Boys' Night Out). The girl pack is purple and the flavour is Creamy Paprika, while the guys get a more butch Smoky Bacon colour with a Flamed BBQ flavour.

I really do hope it's all tongue-in-cheek.

I wonder if they breed if you mix them up?



Barbara said...

Morning Sue, thinking about “boyfriend jeans” made me wonder if “girlfriend pants” might work, no – probably not. Why on earth would anyone want gender-specified crisps? How very odd. Amazon did start categorizing children’s books as ‘girls’ and ‘boys’ but there were a lot of complaints in the media, and it looks as though they have stopped doing it now.
Have a good weekend.

Sue Imgrund said...

There was a lot of debate about amazon and also bricks and mortar bookshops and the girl/boy books a while ago. It doesn't make any sense to me - the age banding I can sort of understand, and I remember from my own childhood.

Sue Imgrund said...

Of course it has all backfired now with the non-binary gender police wading in -https://www.spiegel.de/wirtschaft/unternehmen/gender-marketing-drogeriekette-dm-bekommt-negativpreis-goldener-zaunpfahl-a-b34940f1-1c82-4450-a63b-96a42765bea6?xing_share=news#ref=rss