Rumored 'Lady Doritos' From Pepsi Receives Heavy Backlash
PepsiCo isn’t actually marketing “Lady Doritos,” which were rumored to have less crunch and leave less detritus on fingers — because the CEO believes women don’t like to crunch food or lick their fingers in public. Yet the company did create the buzz about the nonexistent product that’s causing ire on social media.
It seems like an odd choice, right after branding wins from Super Bowl ads on TV and social media, the former featuring a rap battle between Peter Dinklage and Morgan Freeman.
But perhaps judgment is not the right brand choice to question — as Pepsi is also well-known for missing the mark in April 2017 with a Pepsi ad featuring model Kendall Jenner joining a march. Critics thought the brand was disrespecting marches taking place in this divisive political climate.
In a CBS Philly article published Tuesday on MSN, it’s clear Pepsi was the source of the rumor about the company creating “Lady Doritos,” or Doritos modified for and specifically marketed to women:
Recently, PepsiCo received major criticism on social media after the company's CEO Indra Nooyi was interviewed on the Freakonomics Podcast and stated that men and women eat Doritos differently. Nooyi also brought up the concept of snacks designed and packaged specifically for women. The interview caused social media to erupt with tweets and videos about the so-called "lady-friendly Doritos," and the reactions have ranged in tone from mocking to outranged.
Lady Doritos only have 77 percent the crunch of regular Doritos.
— Ben Shapiro (@benshapiro) February 6, 2018
This is all I'm gonna say about "Lady Doritos": 1. Stop telling women in every conceivable goddamn way to be silent. 2. In my experience, it isn't female companions I've ever had to ask to stop chewing chips with their mouths open so I can hear the bloody TV.
— Melissa McEwan (@Shakestweetz) February 6, 2018
Brands: yo y’all want lady Doritos?!
Brands: um what bout lady McDonald’s fries?
Smart person: how bout equal pay and non toxic tampons?
— |L I Z Z O| (@lizzo) February 6, 2018
In an article published Tuesday on Forbes titled “What Pepsi Can Learn From Its ‘Lady Doritos’ Debacle,” Maggie McGrath says:
"Both genders respond particularly negatively when marketers make sweeping generalizations about 'what women want' or 'what men want' and engage outdated stereotypes about female/male behavior, attitudes, and preferences," she said, noting that the stereotypes that Nooyi invoked in her comments (that "polite women" don't eat loudly or get their hands dirty) are especially prone to make "contemporary women bristle" and is "inviting a politicized conversation to the brand."
Ultimately, Pepsico would not be faulted for re-engineering its Doritos in such a way that they pack the same flavor in smaller or neater pieces. Consumers are spending more money on snacking than they have in the past, and salty snacks are a particular bright spot in the snack sales landscape — just ask Hershey … and Campbell Soup …, both of which recently acquired smaller and savory snack brands. More snacking options (or even just different packaging options for the same old chips) could be a big hit with consumers of all genders.
The operative word, though, is "all."
What do you think, marketers?
Please respond in the comments section below.
Related story: Pepsi ‘Missed the Mark’ in Protest Ad