It’s somewhat refreshing, albeit pathetic and sad, to see that gender stereotyping does not discriminate when it comes to the marketing delivered by some of the biggest consumer brands in the world. We gave you our take on the recent Kohl’s “Shop To Win” campaign geared toward women and our supposed universal love of competitive shopping. Now we’re headed to the chip aisle to talk about Ruffles new Ultimate Potato Chips & Dips, a.k.a. man chips, targeted specifically to the stereotypical male.
From the official launch press release issued by PepsiCo, the parent company of Frito-Lay, the new Ruffles Ultimate Potato Chips & Dips feature the “deepest ruffles ridges ever to load up with bold real-food dips made with favorite ‘man’ foods and flavors”. Dear Ruffles/Frito-Lay marketing geniuses… forgive our ignorance, but can you please tell us what “man foods & flavors” are? All this time we were under the impression that our chip flavor preference was an individual and subjective choice, not something connected to our gender. Huh? Based on the flavor profile these new chips and dips will be offered in, “man foods & flavors” are: The Original, Sweet & Smokin’ BBQ and Kickin’ Jalapeno Ranch – and two dip varieties – Beef N’ Cheese and Smokehouse Bacon.
The press release goes on to say, “The chips rock ridges twice the size and depth of the ridges in original Ruffles Potato Chips and come in a variety of real food flavors sure to satisfy any guy gathering. The thick, deep ridges in the chips allow for guys to load up on hearty flavor with new hardcore dips – made with chunks of real bacon or real beef and cheese – achieving a truly unapologetic snacking experience that satisfies man hunger.” Seriously? Seriously… you can’t make this stuff up.
So, we’re left to wonder, is it that Frito-Lay doesn’t think women can handle their extra thick, “hardcore” flavor packed Ruffles chips and dips or is it that they figure women are simply smart enough to not eat a calorie heavy, salt bomb of a nutritiously void chip when we feel a hunger pang coming on, so they don’t bother marketing to us? On the other hand, maybe it has nothing to do with us at all; maybe the Ruffles marketers just don’t have a whole lot of respect for their male customers and have no issue painting such a stereotypical image of guys as lowbrow, nutrition ignorant, eating machines suffering from some fictitious, base ailment called “man hunger”.
And here is the insult to injury kicker. The new Ruffles ‘for men’ will be launched at men’s magazine MAXIM’s Hot 100 party in New York tonight. According to the press release, “…guys will be able to load up on the hearty flavors of Ruffles Ultimate potato chips and dips surrounded by MAXIM’s world’s most beautiful women of 2012.” The layers of stereotyping of both men and women are as thick as their chips with this Ruffles’ launch event… women being paraded around as “eye candy” for hot blooded, Neanderthal-type men to ogle, while shoving potato chips in their faces. Not sure whether to laugh or cry at the ridiculousness of it all!