No No. PepsiCo is not foolish enough to launch Doritos for Women. For Gods sake, PepsiCo is one of the greatest consumer marketing companies on earth. Sure, even the finest companies can lay a goose egg once in a while. But not such an obvious bloomer like Doritos for women.
The brouhaha started with an interview Indra Nooyi, the Chairperson of Pepsico gave to Freakonomics. As reported in the New York Times -
Ms. Nooyi told the interviewer that women did not eat Doritos the same way men did.“They don’t like to crunch too loudly in public,” she said. “And they don’t lick their fingers generously, and they don’t like to pour the little broken pieces and the flavor into their mouth.”She was asked whether PepsiCo — which owns Frito-Lay, the manufacturer of Doritos — was planning “a male and female version of chips.”
Ms. Nooyi responded: “It’s not a male and female 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 flavor stick on the fingers, and how can you put it in a purse? Because women love to carry a snack in their purse.”
The Sun (of the notorious British tabloid fame) took this and reported that Doritos for women was being launched. Social media picked it up and hyped it with juicy headlines.
Feminists responded by lashing out and saying this simply reinforced gender stereotypes. Men lashed out saying this was PC going too far. Sending a tweet is easy - you don't have to think and you can spew whatever banality you wish to without any consequence; just ask a certain old man occupying a seat of power. And then before you could say Doritos, a full blown controversy had erupted. The company had to issue a statement that No, they were not launching Doritos for women !
Indra Nooyi must be scratching her head in bewilderment. All she was outlining in her podcast was how Frito Lay really tried to understand consumers, tried to get insights and tailor products accordingly. Very likely they may have launched a variant that was less crunchy, if that's what women preferred. But they wouldn't do something as dumb as launching a "Doritos for women".
Just goes to show how careful anybody has to be when making a public appearance. It seems altogether appealing not to appear in public at all - after all no human is infallible enough not to utter an inanity. It also shows how lots of people have nothing else to do but to respond to every nonsense and tweet some rubbish. A certain distinguished reader of mine is a prodigious tweeter. He may want to pause :)