Chips are meant to be eaten a certain way: loudly and with the best crunch possible. There is no way to eat chips quietly, and anyone that pulls out a bag of chips is sure to be noticed in the next thirty seconds. Being loud is a trademark personality trait of chips.
Still, despite “loud” being one of the main descriptors for eating chips, one company is setting out to see to it that “quiet” can also be a descriptor for chips.
In her recent interview with podcast series Freakonomics, PepsiCo Chief Executive Officer Indra Nooyi pitched the idea of “Pink Doritos,” which would rework the loud, bold chip to be quieter, to have less seasoning to stick to the fingers, and – the crème de la crème of it all – to be easier for women to carry in their purses as a travelling snack.
“[Women] don’t like to crunch too loudly in public,” says Nooyi, who was a strategy consultant with the Boston Consulting Group before taking on the position at PepsiCo, which owns the Doritos brand. “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…and how can you put it in a purse? Because women love to carry a snack in their purse.”
The uproar was almost immediate: “Lady Doritos” was trending on Twitter with several quippy tweets by users from all over the globe. “Thank god because my fragile, feminine, woman jaw just about breaks every time I have a normal Dorito,” Twitter user @uhhmmily wrote.
One Twitter user even went so far as to mention the asinine “pink tax,” where products marketed specifically “for her” can sometimes lead women to pay up to seven percent more than they would for men’s products.
“Thank you @Doritos for making a crisp that doesn’t crunch as you know us ladies don’t like it,” wrote Katie Houghton. “Hopefully you can make a dip to match my handbag, cause that’d be cute. OH, I hope the bag’s pink. I hope I pay more because it’s pink too.”
Reactions outside of the Internet were just as disbelieving. When asked about the concept, NYMM staff had scathing thoughts on the idea.
“It’s weird how the CEO is a woman and genuinely supported the idea of chips marketed to women. You’d think a woman would be more sensitive to and aware of the issues surrounding that sort of proposal,” said Shannon Blackler, NYMM Lead Editor, who had been genuinely baffled when the idea had first come to light. “I’ve talked to several of my friends about it…and they all said they love to crunch their chips, lick their fingers for the dust, and tilt the bag up to get the crumbs into their mouths!”
“[It’s a] gross misinterpretation of equality and feminism,” said Sarah Rizkalla, NYMM Founder.
Despite the controversy surrounding the idea, Doritos has denied the consideration of such a product. “The reporting on a specific Doritos product for female consumers is inaccurate,” a spokeswoman for the company told Forbes. “We already have Doritos for women–they’re called Doritos, and they’re enjoyed by millions of people every day.”
Still, it led others to wonder about missed opportunities. Musician Nathan Sharp was one to wonder: “Why would Doritos market quiet and less messy chips as ‘Lady Friendly Doritos’ and have a huge PR fiasco instead of just calling them ‘Discreetos?'”
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