Well, anyone, male or female can still buy it, but they have quite the in-your-face male targeted marketing campaign, all the way down to the wrappers. So what is prompting this post? While perusing the “international” aisle at my local Harris Teeter, I noticed a small section with candy bars from Britain. One bar in particular, “Yorkie” really caught my eye, so I snapped this picture of it:

Wow. That’s pretty blatant. To say right on your wrapper that your product is “Not For Girls”??? After seeing this, I was wondering how Nestle didn’t take some flack for it. I mean, I’m a comedian, marketing guy and food blogger, who finds things like this mildly amusing. But surely other people must think/have thought this is a pretty sexist marketing tactic, no? I mean we wouldn’t tolerate a candy bar that say’s “It’s Not for (insert ethnic group, minority group, political group, religion etc. here).”

Turns out this campaign has been around quite a while, launching in the spring of 2002. At the time it did catch some flack. When the campaign first launched, it used slogans in TV ads and on posters such as: “It’s not for girls”, “don’t feed the birds”, “not available in pink” and “King size, not Queen size.” Wow. The back of the wrapper even features the phrase “Do Not Feed the Birds” (In Britain, “bird” is a slang term for woman or girl). The wrapper was supplemented with TV ads in which the only way girls could buy a Yorkie bar was to try and dress up to pretend and be a guy:

Yorkie/Nestle, when they released the ads, talked about “reclaiming” chocolate bars for men, since so much of chocolate advertising is aimed at women. This Yorkie campaign attempts to make eating chocolate bars a thing that is ok for gruff, manly men to do again.

Well So Good readers, what do you think? A little harmless fun by Nestle? A deliberately controversial campaign that was made purely to draw attention and press? Blatentently sexist? A subtle appeal to women by trying to entice them into buying something they “shouldn’t” be trying to buy? Effective? Ineffective? Offensive? Fun?

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12 Responses

  1. revtomcollins@hotmail.com'
    Max Power

    You’re not seriously equating this with racism, are you?

    Luna bars have always been marketed towards woman, albeit not in a tongue in cheek way. So who gives a shit? Relax.

    Reply
  2. sogoodblog@gmail.com'
    Eick

    @Max Power – as I said, I’m a comedian/writer/marketing guy who just finds this amusing and interesting. I’m not equating it with racism, but I AM asking if others might. When I was researching before writing this post, I came across another blog post here:

    http://outonthestoop.blogspot.com/2006/10/awareness-yorkie-is-not-for-girls.html

    One of the commenters claimed she successfully lobbied her local grocery store to remove Yorkie from the shelves by using the race vs. gender analogy, arguing that if it said “Not for Puerto Ricans” we wouldn’t tolerate it.

    That’s just her opinion, not mine obviously, but because people like her do exist, it would seem the question is worth asking.

    Reply
  3. brian7905@aol.com'
    Brian

    When I think of a Yorkie I think of a tiny dog. Masculine indeed.

    Even after watching the commercial and reading the post, I have no idea what makes a Yorkie for men only. How is it different than any other chocolate bar?

    Reply
  4. Sam

    At first the wrapper made me go “Whaaat?” and chuckle a little bit, but then I thought about it. And thought about it some more.

    And I still don’t get it. What about a chocolate bar makes it inherently funny to deny to women? Maybe in Britain chocolate is seen as more of a “girly” thing to eat – moreso than America, even. That’s the only explanation I can think of.

    Reply
  5. denial@ix.netcom.com'
    kiya

    This chocolate bar has been produced for literally over 15 years now, maybe far more even.
    The reason nobody cares is because it’s really only supposed to be available in England where people don’t freak out over things like this.
    In the US it’s only available at import shops or in “import isles”.

    Reply
  6. alana@girlalive.com'
    Alana

    It’s not great chocolate. And it is sexist. But British society in general is incredibly sexist and misogynistic. The British are incredibly racist too. You can still buy little blackface dolls here. Basically, if you’re not a white native British male in Britain, you can expect to be paid less and treated like crap. This chocolate bar is not the problem, it’s just a small symptom of why I’d sell a kidney to move back to the US.

    Reply
  7. a@yaho.com'
    apple

    i think it is offensive. i dont take that as some sort of harmless joke. Just because we women tend to snack on the nearest chocolate bar or bag of chips when were under alot of stress or depressed or crave these types of things doesnt make it ok to make fun of.

    Reply
  8. beth_carss@hotmail.com'
    Beth

    I’ve just sent them the following email (they appear to have changed the packaging)

    I would just like to thank you for changing Yorkie. I used to enjoy it years ago before you kindly informed me it wasn’t for me. As I didn’t know what damage it was doing to my hormones or fallopian tubes I decided the best course of action was to take your advice and substitute it with other chocolate brands. Now it appears you have done something to it which means girls can now enjoy it again, so thank you for that.

    Reply
  9. kat2166@aol.com'
    kat

    I think it’s sexist and agree with the opinion that it wouldn’t be tolerated if they substituted the words “black” or “gay” for “girls”.

    Reply

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