The 'ladychip' did exactly what it was designed to do: manufacture outrage
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The 'ladychip' did exactly what it was designed to do: manufacture outrage

The chief executive of a global food and beverage megacorp (she's a woman) had a really great idea last week.

Talking to one of those business-futurology podcasts, she noted insightfully how women don't like eating noisy chips in public.

The suggestion of developing less-crunchy chips for women has been rubbished.

The suggestion of developing less-crunchy chips for women has been rubbished.

Ladies, she had observed, do not scarf chips down the way men do. They don't empty the crumbs at the bottom of packet down their throats, and they don't lick the hydrogenated flavour-powder off their fingers when they're done.

The chief executive's solution? Ladychips: "Low-crunch, the full taste profile, not have so much of the flavour stick on the fingers."

It goes without saying that the internet went crackers with snarky tweets and sarcastic posts about Lady-this and Lady-that, and that the blow-up was reported in media stories heavily seasoned with the global food and beverage megacorp's name and the name of its corn-chip food product.

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What were they thinking, you're probably thinking. What about #metoo? Didn't they get the gender politics memo over at global food and beverage megacorp headquarters?

Didn't they learn anything from last year's Super Bowl ad, which sent the internet into a fizz over Kendall Jenner with a can of cola cast as a shock-troop for Black Lives Matter?

Are people at the top of these corporations – even women – so far up the whatever that they can't see the action on the ground down below?

And were they really going to make stale, low-flavour corn chips and market them to "lady" customers?

Nah, they aren't and they weren't. They said so themselves (even as the chief executive said the opposite, telling the podcast, Trump-like: "We are looking at it, and we're getting ready to launch a bunch of them soon.")

Nah. They know that the idea of making ladychips is stupid, would be offensive to the internet, runs counter to the times and would get everyone on the internet reaching for the virtual pitchforks faster than you can say "salsa" (although it might not go down so badly in the corn-chip heartland).

They knew the ladychip thought bubble would get their name and the name of their corn chips in all the newspapers and on all the TV channels.

"We already have [corn chips] for women – they're called [corn chips], and they're enjoyed by millions of people every day," the company told Fairfax Media. "At the same time, we know needs and preferences continue to evolve and we're always looking for new ways to engage and delight our consumers."

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Remembering, of course, that "engage and delight" includes enraging a bunch of people who probably don't buy their product anyway.

Matt Holden is a Fairfax Media columnist.

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