You’ve heard by now, certainly.
We can look forward to a new snack food, Doritos for Women. They won’t call them that, but in a stunning misfire that made the chips maker, PepsiCo, look pretty stupid, we’ve been told they are working on a new chip that I will prefer.
It will be quieter. It will leave less messy gunk behind on my fingers. It will fit in my purse, even though I don’t carry one. PepsiCo is only thinking of me.
I admittedly eat only a handful of Doritos a year, because I’m quite certain each chip contains more chemical residue than a countertop in a meth lab. The only thing the colour of Doritos that occurs in nature is Donald Trump’s head, and I’d take a huff of that meth lab before I’d touch that.
So Doritos for Dames, or Lady Doritos (as someone in my Twitter feed called them), or Girl Chips are apparently the way forward in snack innovation. An interview in Adweek with PepsiCo quotes CEO Indra Nooyi saying women “would love” to lick their fingers and pour Doritos chip crumbs into their mouths, they “don’t like to crunch too loudly in public” and “don’t like to pour the little broken pieces and the flavor into their mouth.”
Their own spokesperson rapidly shot that down, declaring that Nooyi’s remarks were inaccurate. Call me crazy, but when the CEO trots out this new concept complete with the merits on several different levels, I doubt she was talking out of her boardroom. This discussion happened and word got out before their own marketing department could spin all the in-house dialogue out of the equation.
This reminds me of Coke inventing a problem to solve and the introduction of New Coke. That happened back in 1985 as people around the world discovered what it would take to get average Americans out of their La-Z-Boys and revolting in the streets. The difference now, of course, is the internet. It took New Coke 77 days to fold up its tent, mostly because the word filtered around by hard copy headlines and the tail of the nightly news. Female Doritos got about 77 minutes before they were walking back the concept.
I’m stunned that a huge corporation like PepsiCo could get it so wrong. We may live in sensitive times, but we also live in more enlightened ones, I would hope. The only thing you can market exclusively to women are tampons or nursing bras.
When we were kids, my mother used to wait until we’d gone to bed to break out the potato chips. They were kept in a tin we had to use a chair to reach, with Chip King emblazoned on the side. The chips were delivered to the house. No word of a lie. And at night in front of Star Trek or M*A*S*H my mother would try to sneak open a bag of chips.
And we’d be out of bed like stirred up wasps, standing before her, arms outstretched. No matter how quietly she’d tried to ease open that bag, we were like cats responding to the call of the can opener. I used to think she was mean, but every mother I know since has something squirreled away, somewhere, hidden from the locusts that are children.
If PepsiCo had actually asked any real women (if this really was a quest to make our lives easier or more enjoyable), they never would have heard “make the crunch go away” or “make me look more graceful as I lick my fingers like a hyena.”
Doritos never needed to make quieter chips. They just needed to make silent packaging.