Tag Archives: Yorkie

The Desire for Chocolate: Embracing or Rejecting the Female Chocolate “Craving” in Chocolate Advertisements

The market for chocolate is extremely large and growing, with a projected $98.3 billion dollars in global sales for 2016, leaving chocolate companies in a competition for dominance (Omar). In today’s society, chocolate bars are often considered delicacies to be consumed as a tool of escape and pleasure, helping to increase chocolate’s popularity. Often individuals claim that their consumption of chocolate comes from an insatiable craving (Benton). In a Canadian study, around 97% of women, compared to 68% of men, reported cravings for chocolate either as a source of distraction from everyday life or as a result of weakness stemming from emotional distress (Benton). Most chocolate companies advertise their products to a female audience as a way to capitalize on the stereotypical belief that women are more helpless to the allure of chocolate than men, allowing Yorkie to take the opposite approach and target the male segment of society with advertisements that promote traditional gender stereotypes of female inadequacy and weakness.

The following video shows women giving into their guilty pleasures, or insatiable cravings of chocolate, while promoting the idea that these cravings are ‘only human’ as they are intrinsic to females across the globe. While the narrator admits that women try to be perfect, she concedes that they also need to “cut themselves some slack” and give into the temptation of chocolate from time to time.

 yorkieWhile many chocolate advertisements strive to utilize the common female chocolate craving, Yorkie, a British chocolate bar founded in 1976 and owned by Nestle, chose to approach chocolate advertising in a unique manner (“Yorkie”). While the Yorkie was originally championed as “the chunkier alternative to the slimmed down Dairy Milk bars,” beginning in 2001, the company began to target a solely male consumer base through the use of print ads barring women from their product (Omar). In the advertisement provided to the right, Yorkie features their chocolate bar covered in blue, a traditionally male color, with bold, yellow and uppercase lettering. This lettering, both in the brand name and in the wording surrounding, symbolizes the robustness of the brand and the power associated with eating the product. It also serves as a warning for women to not approach the candy. The statement, “DO NOT FEED THE BIRDS” perpetuates the long-standing stereotype of feebleness in women compared to men, while “SAVE YOUR MONEY FOR DRIVING LESSONS” serves to invalidate female ability and agency. The O of the Yorkie and the tagline beneath serve to reveal that the candy bar is “NOT FOR GIRLS,” providing proof that only ‘strong men’ can handle eating the product. Each element of the packaging and wording serves to alienate the chocolate product from the female consumer in an attempt to make men comfortable with consuming chocolate themselves. It feeds the masculine stereotype that men want to be perceived as tougher and stronger than their female counterpart.

Yorkiecrop

Our ad seeks to remove the overt messages banning female consumption of the Yorkie, while still allowing the Yorkie brand to cater to the male segment of the chocolate market. Thus our ad still maintains the blue wrapping of the bar and the bold, yellow lettering. On the other hand, the ad we have created seeks to dispel the need for sexism to sell a product. By using the phrase, “DO NOT FEED THE SEXISM” our ad encourages both men and women to purchase a product that does not ostracize 50 percent of the global population. In the new ad, the tagline, “It’s for everyone” opens the consumer base up to the women of the world. Additionally, the phrase, “SPEND YOUR MONEY HOW YOU WANT” embraces the western ideals of choice and individuality that are important to both men and women alike. This phrase also speaks to the male working class population that the Yorkie was originally intended for (Omar). Previous to the sexist ads employed today, commercial segments for the brand featured truck drivers enjoying a moment in their busy schedules with the candy bar (Omar).

While Yorkie’s advertising campaign may seem shocking, the ads have stood the test of time for the past fourteen years. In fact, research shows that Yorkie sales increased by 30% just 12 weeks following the launch of the campaign in 2001 (Omar). In many ways, women are left to choose between two extremes in regard to the ads. While some women may laugh at the ads, they could be construed as buying into sexism (Mills). On the other hand, if women are offended by Yorkie’s ads, they may be seen as humorless and cynical (Mills). The real problem with the campaign is that the attempts at humor fail due to gender inequality. The fact remains that men and women are not considered equal in society, as seen by the wage gap, causing Yorkie advertisements to leave a sour taste in many people’s mouths. As Yorkie continues production, those in charge of branding may want to think about re-strategizing their print ads so as to attract more women to their brand, and grow in sales.

Works Cited:

Omar, Zain. “How Sexism Increased Sales for Yorkie”. Evidence Based Marketing. 12 June 2011. Web. 9 April 2015.

Mills, Sarah. “Third Wave Feminist Linguistics and the Analysis of Sexism”. Sheffield Hallam University. n.d. Web. 9 April 2015.

Benton, David. “The Biology and Psychology of Chocolate Craving”. Coffee, Tea, Chocolate and the Brain. Ed. Astrid Nehlig. Boca Raton: CRC Press LLC, 2004. Print.

“Yorkie”. Nestle. n.d. April 9 2015.

Media:

Video:

DoveChocolateTV. “DOVE Chocolate “Only Human” TV Commercial”. Online Video Clip. YOUTUBE. Youtube, 23 July 2010. Web. 9 April 2015.

Second and Third Image:

http://evidencebasedmarketing.net/wp-content/uploads/2011/06/yorkie3.jpg”

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Yorkie and the “Opiate of the Misses”

Of the 60 million pounds of chocolate purchased by American consumers during the week leading up to Valentine’s Day, 75% will be purchased by men and given as gifts to women in a display of romance and affection. This one-week period marks the only time of the year when men account for the majority of chocolate sales–during the other 51 weeks, women comprise the majority of consumers in this $83 billion chocolate industry (Anderson). The gendered nature of the chocolate industry is nothing new; rather, this perceived dichotomy in male and female consumption has existed since the Industrial Revolution, when innovations in production methods and access to cheap labor sources transformed chocolate from a luxury of the elite to a commodity of the masses. Operating under this new industrialized commodity model, early British chocolate firms began to invest heavily in advertising as a means by which to vie with one another for consumer brand loyalty. Advertising effectively served the profit-driven interests of competing chocolate firms, inserting itself as an intermediary between consumer and product in order to manipulate the relationship between the two. By exploiting hegemonic ideologies regarding race, gender, and class, advertising encouraged consumers to engage in particular patterns of conspicuous consumption as a means by which to actively position themselves along these social dimensions. As such, the very act of consumption became transformed into a powerful means by which to “express [one’s] sense of identity” (Robertson 19). Thus was born what has now become the multibillion dollar chocolate industry, the covetous hands of which have sculpted and promulgated many pernicious representations of gender throughout time.

Since the 19th century, chocolate firms have relied on marketing practices that have invariably upheld the primacy of the female chocolate consumer. Although specific content and imagery may change throughout time, chocolate advertising has remained consistent in its ability to arouse and manipulate the both the gustatory and socially conscious appetites of women. Preying upon distinctly female vulnerabilities within various contexts, chocolate firms have promised time and time again that their products can compensate for a woman’s “feelings of inferiority [and] insecurity” (Campbell 111). As early as the 19th century, chocolate firms were marketing cocoa as an essential tool of the devoted mother and savvy housewife, exploiting the self-doubt of women as household figures and further enforcing their association with the domestic sphere (Robertson, 21). In the late 1940s and 1950s, postwar Europe saw men disappear almost entirely from the world of chocolate advertisements, merely serving as bodies or voices to market products to a distinctly female audience (Robertson 32). Such advertising appealed to notions of romance, sexuality, and courtship, effectively transforming chocolate into an object of sexual desire for women. This trend is clearly evidenced in a video advertisement for a chocolate “FLING” bar:

 FLING Chocolate Dressing Room Advertisement, 2009 (“FLING”)

This advertisement clearly equates a women’s scandalous involvement in an affair with her indulgence in a chocolate bar, promising that the latter fling, with only 85 calories, is “naughty… but not too naughty.” Such a representation reinforces the notion that a woman’s consumption of unhealthy sweets should guilt-ridden, concealed, and done only in moderation. However, by reframing the craving for chocolate as a sexual desire, advertisers transmute the act of private consumption into a statement of sexual liberty, and any previous hesitation the consumer may have had about indulging in this sweet treat is rendered irrelevant. As such, the female chocolate consumer is manipulated to believe that chocolate consumption will not harm her femininity, but instead enhance it through its romantic and sexually satisfying properties. It is thus no surprise that women in contemporary chocolate advertisements appear to be quite content with the lack of male presence, instead choosing chocolate and its promise of orgasmic pleasure as a preferred substitute to satiate their sexual appetites.

In a concerted rejection of this traditional association of chocolate with female consumption, Rowntree’s (now Nestlé) released their Yorkie chocolate bar in 1976 to provide a larger, chunkier, and more masculine alternative to the wide range of confections targeted at female consumers (Smith 334). Early Yorkie advertisements established the hackneyed, working-class Yorkie trucker as the face of the brand, appealing to males both in the working-class of York itself and across Britain more broadly; however, by the turn of the 21st century, this simplistic representation of masculinity had become overused and outdated. In order to ensure the Yorkie bar’s continued success, Nestlé released their 2001 “Yorkie: It’s Not for Girls” campaign in an effort to “reclaim” chocolate for the contemporary “British bloke” (Redfern). Yorkie accomplished just that, with profits skyrocketing by 40% over the course of the advertising period (Smith 337). The campaign “forbids” women from consuming the candy bar, explicitly stating that “IT’S NOT FOR GIRLS” and replacing the “O” in “YORKIE” with an image of a crossed-out woman in its packaging design. Further, widely circulated advertisements for this Yorkie campaign feature slogans such as “DON’T FEED THE BIRDS,” “SAVE YOUR MONEY FOR DRIVING LESSONS,” “NOT AVAILABLE IN PINK,” and “KING SIZE NOT QUEEN SIZE,” some of which are shown below.

Nestlé’s Yorkie Candy Bar Advertisement (2001)
Nestlé’s Yorkie Candy Bar Advertisement, 2001 (“Nestlés”)

These highly charged sentiments entered and overwhelmed national conversations about gender stereotypes; however, the extensive backlash in newspaper articles and radio pieces ultimately secured the success of Yorkie’s clever marketing scheme, which harnessed controversy in order to establish strong brand identity and achieve widespread visibility (Smith 337). Through such words, Nestlé aimed to convince their audience of working-class, British males that they too can partake in the traditionally feminine pastime of chocolate consumption, provided that it is a Yorkie bar. The Yorkie bar is presented as the only chocolate bar hearty enough for the lifestyle of a true man; in fact, through the emphasis of traditional stereotypes of masculinity, the very act of consumption becomes a simultaneous reaffirmation of manhood.

While Yorkie’s response to the female monopoly on chocolate consumption did successfully increase the visibility of the male consumer, its feeble attempts to promote gender equality fall decidedly short. Yorkie does not merely turn a blind eye to the vast array of problematic representations of women in chocolate advertising; on the contrary, Yorkie strives to preserve them, as the success of its marketing strategy hinges upon both the existence and broader cultural validation of these pejorative caricatures. The tongue-in-cheek presentation of such overtly sexist messages renders them difficult to challenge and critique, as the case can be made that these advertisements perpetuate stereotypes of both men and women. Although Yorkie does exploit clichéd perceptions of masculinity, its representations of the rugged and virile laborer are clearly dripping in irony and thus only superficially impact popular gender perceptions. This explicit parody of maleness stands in stark contrast with the more implicit ridicule of women, an imbalance that reflects a more pervasive gendered power disparity that exists within chocolate advertising and society as a whole.

Yorkie Advertisement Critique, 2015
Yorkie Advertisement Critique, 2015

The slogan “SAVE YOUR MONEY FOR DRIVING LESSONS” rests upon a problematic assumption of female incompetence and inferiority in stereotypically male pursuits. By replacing this statement with “YOU WORK HARD FOR YOUR MONEY, SPEND IT HOW YOU WANT,” Yorkie’s chauvinistic connotations can be eliminated while maintaining their appeal to a traditionally working-class consumer base. Yorkie’s other slogan, “DON’T FEED THE BIRDS,” is worse still, effectively dehumanizing women and making them to feel as though they must abstain from consumption of this bar in order to remain slim and thus attractive to men. This is further implied in Yorkie’s choice of ingredients, containing nearly twice the fat and calories as traditional chocolate bars. This less explicit statement rests upon the same assumption that women should and will steer clear of products that are high in fat, sugar, and calories. Yorkie and its consumers can thus be faulted for legitimizing the image of the idealized slender female body and perpetuating female body insecurity, and should be advised not to “FEED THE SEXISM” that is inherent in this campaign.

By fundamentally shifting their marketing strategies to cater to a gender-neutral audience, chocolate advertising carries the potential to perpetuate empowering messages of gender equality that could help to eradicate more pervasive gender disparities that have long been structurally engrained in society as a whole. While the Yorkie campaign does strive to level the playing field for chocolate consumers, its efforts are opportunistic and guided by profit rather than moral principles; however, the promise of positive social change is within reach if powerful chocolate firms like Nestlé wield their widespread influence in a more socially conscious way.


 Works Cited

Anderson, L.V. “What’s Up with the Stereotype That Women Love Chocolate?” Slate. The Slate Group, 13 Feb. 2012. Web. 6 Apr. 2015.

Campbell, Colin. 1995. “The Sociology of Consumption.” Acknowledging Consumption: A Review of New Studies. Ed. Daniel Miller. London, England: Routledge.

Fahim, Jamal. Beyond Cravings: Gender and Class Desires in Chocolate Marketing. Thesis. Occidental College, 2010. Occidental: OxyScholar, n.d. Print.

FLING Chocolate Dressing Room Advertisement. FLING Chocolate, 2009. Web. 8 Apr. 2015.

Nestlé’s Yorkie Candy Bar Advertisement. Popular Feminism and Infotainment. N.p., 2001. Web. 2 Apr. 2015.

Redfern, Catherine. “Not for Girls? The Yorkie and Echo Adverts.” The F-Word: Contemporary UK Feminism. The F-Word, 16 May 2006. Web. 6 Apr. 2015.

Robertson, Emma. Chocolate, Women and Empire: A Social and Cultural History. Manchester: Manchester UP, 2009. Print.

Smith, P. R., and Jonathan Taylor. Marketing Communications: An Integrated Approach. London: Kogan Page, 2004. Google Books. Web. 6 Apr. 2015.

Girls, Boys, and Chocolate

The extent to which gender stereotyping has always been particularly prevalent in chocolate advertising demands that it be looked at more critically. Looking at gender stereotyping is important because of the sociohistorical context in which these advertisements exist: A cross-national analysis of gender stereotypes in advertising in the 1990s has shown that boys were consistently depicted as smarter and more active than girls, and were more often associated with dominance and control (Brown, 2013). Because these advertisements are thrown at us every hour of every day, it is no doubt that the stereotypes they portray will have an effect on the way we view men and women.

Early in its history, chocolate was mainly associated with women and children, but recent advertisements tell a different story. There are several narratives through which chocolate advertisements will employ gender stereotyping in order to sell their chocolate, and these narrative are no longer limited to brash generalizations about women: in more recent decades, there has been an increasing emphasis on the manly capabilities of chocolate. For example, in the 1950s, Black Magic advertised their chocolate to men, as a gift to please their lovers; to women, it was advertised than a man with Black Magic chocolate must be the right type of man—there was an inherent association with the chocolate and favorable qualities in a man, such as a good education and good social prospects (Robertson, 2009, p. 30). Fast forward to today, many Snickers commercials emphasize the ability of a Snickers bar to return a man to his original “manly” state; for example, Snickers’ 2010 Super Bowl commercial featured a man who is playing football like Betty White (presumably like an old, weak woman), until he eats a Snickers bar:

But my main topic of discussion in this essay will be Nestle’s Yorkie bar, a popular chocolate bar in the United Kingdom that dropped itself deep into the heart of gender stereotyping controversy. Up until very recently, the chocolate bar’s slogan was “It’s not for girls!”, a slogan endorsed so boldly that it was even printed on the chocolate bar’s wrapper along with a “no girls” symbol right in the chocolate bar’s name.

The slogan “It’s not for girls!” can be found directly on the wrapper of the Yorkie chocolate bar, along with a “no girls” symbol in “o” of the name “Yorkie”.

Yorkie’s most well known commercial depicts a female who has disguised herself as a male construction worker in order to obtain a Yorkie bar—the shopkeeper makes her go through a series of tests in order to prove her “manliness,” the last of which she ultimately fails.

A closer analysis of the stereotypes within this commercial reveals just what it is trying to say about BOTH men and women. For example, let us look at the tests of manliness that the shopkeeper performs: He begins by asking her a question about a sports rule, employing the stereotype that men are experts on all things sports, while women know nothing about them. He then tells her to open a jar of walnuts, employing the stereotype that men are stronger than women. Afterwards, he quickly says something provocative about stockings, invoking the objectification of women as a point of discourse among men, before attempting to scare her with a rubber spider, employing the stereotype that women are afraid of bugs, while men are much braver and harder to scare. The shopkeeper then hands over the Yorkie bar, only to snatch it back when he compliments the woman’s eyes and she reacts positively, which I presume is something only a woman would do. It seems to take a lot for somebody to be qualified to eat a Yorkie bar. The advert closes with a man saying in a deep voice: “Yorkie—Five big masculine chunks of chocolate, it’s not for girls.” In terms of appearance, the woman has also adorned a mustache, typically a male “accessory,” and the clothing of a construction worker, also usually associated with males and having strength.

Advertisements like these are harmful to both men and women because of the way they portray gender roles. They push a lot of unrealistic expectations onto men by strictly and stereotypically defining what it means to be masculine: to like sports, to be physically strong, to like women, to be fearless, to not care about your appearance. They reinforce these stereotypes and make men who don’t quite fit them want to buy the candy bar so that they can feel and be perceived as manly. On the flip side, they exclude women from these stereotypically male traits (by defining being strong as masculine, it’s almost like saying that women can’t and shouldn’t be strong) and define women as the opposite of these traits: not knowledgeable about sports, weak, easily frightened, etc.

In the spirit of standing against gender stereotyping in advertisements as a way to promote gender equality, my group member and I have created our own advertisement for the Yorkie chocolate bar, based on the format of a still Yorkie advertisement.

The original Yorkie advertisement that we based the format of our advertisement on depicts a Yorkie bar with words saying “Not available in pink,” implying that there isn’t a version of the Yorkie bar for girls (who are associated with liking pink).
Rebranded Yorkie Ad
Our original advertisement that attempts to rebrand Yorkie, maintaining that it is a chocolate bar for the strong, but not “strong” in the traditional sense.

Our advertisement maintains the original theme of the Yorkie bar as a chocolate bar for those who want to be STRONG, but we have redefined what it means to be strong. We want to portray that, instead of physical strength and masculinity, being strong means standing up for equality and being open-minded and above the stereotypes that we’re forced to face in our lives every day.

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Multimedia Sources

“Betty White Snickers Commercial Super Bowl Commercial 2010.” YouTube video, 0:30. Posted by “MistahSparkles70,” Feb 8, 2010. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=18ya0-OZ58s. Accessed April 9, 2015.

Yorkie chocolate bar. Digital Image. Available from: http://i.kinja-img.com/gawker-media/image/upload/s–HVF54WyS–/18i92d74k0g8ajpg.jpg. Accessed April 9, 2015.

“Yorkie – It’s NOT for girls.” YouTube video, 0:29. Posted by “LoweCafeina,” July 31, 2006. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QcjlzSod0CE. Accessed April 9, 2015.

Yorkie advertisement. Digital Image. Available from: http://www.thetimes.co.uk/tto/multimedia/archive/00341/114100916__341964c.jpg. Accessed April 9, 2015.

References

Brown, Beverley A. (2013). “Gender Stereotypes in Advertising on Children’s Television in the 1990s: A Cross-National Analysis.” Journal of Advertising, 27(1): 83-96.

Robertson, Emma. (2009). Chocolate, Women, and Empire: A Social and Cultural History. Manchester, UK: Manchester University Press.

Yorkie: A Chocolate Bar for Everyone

 

In 2002, Nestle launched a new advertising campaign for the Yorkie bar, based on the argument that in a current world of increasing female dominance, men didn’t have much that they could “claim as their own” (Badenoch, 2009).

When I initially saw the logo for Nestle’s Yorkie bar (pictured above), I thought it was a joke. While I have seen my fair share of sexist advertising, it seemed unfathomable to me that a chocolate bar whose wrapper had “NOT FOR GIRLS” printed across it was even available on the market. As I did more research, I saw that this packaging was no joke, but rather part of a £3m advertising campaign launched in 2002 that aimed to “reclaim chocolate for men” (Smith and Taylor, 2004). The marketing director of Nestle at the time, Andrew Harrison, said the campaign was planned as a direct response to the “feminine silks and swirls and indulgent images of most confectionery advertising” (Smith and Taylor, 2004).

While it is understandable that Nestle was trying to target male consumers, it is not understandable why these efforts had to be at the expense of women. Additionally, from an economic standpoint it would seem unwise to blatantly exclude 50% of the entire population from a potential market. Thus, Chrissy, Emily, and I aimed to introduce a more inclusive advertisement that puts women back into the equation, not only as a way to combat sexism but also to increase the potential market size of Nestle’s Yorkie Bar.

Our attempt to make a more inclusively-marketed product.
Our attempt to make a more inclusively-marketed product.

In order to explain our logic in creating this new advertisement, it would be useful to first explore the Yorkie bar’s history. As explained on Nestle’s UK website, the Yorkie chocolate bar was launched in 1976 to compete with and to provide a chunkier alternative to the slimmed-down Cadbury Dairy Milk bars. According to its nutritional information, the Yorkie Bar shows is almost double the size of average chocolate bar, weighing in at 70 grams and amounting to a whopping 300 calories. Imagery associated with Yorkie bars in early advertising campaigns featured truck drivers as a response to the female-oriented target market for Cadbury Dairy Milk. While chocolate advertising aimed toward women has typically depicted it as a “sexual indulgence” to satisfy a sensual appetite, Yorkie appealed to men by portraying the product as one that satisfied a physical appetite (Badenoch, 2009).

The television advertisement above shows a woman attempting to purchase a Yorkie, but the only way she can do this is by gluing on a fake beard and dressing up as a builder to fool the large male shopkeeper. 

The logo, then, attempts to represent the hunger-satisfying, masculine qualities of the Yorkie bar. The big, bold, strong font of “NOT FOR GIRLS” is meant to assert the Yorkie’s dominance over the male market by completing excluding females from trying the product. Aside from its explicit slogan, the logo is blatantly directed to appeal to men, as the marketers turned the ‘o’ in Yorkie into a street-sign image of a woman with a red line across it. Furthermore, by explaining that the bar is not available into pink, the advertisement plays on the stereotype that pink is a color that can only be enjoyed by women and not men. This purposely is meant to discourage women from eating Yorkie bars to firmly cement the product as one exclusively consumed by men.

While we understand that British humor varies greatly from American humor, and that these advertisements were meant to be tongue-in-cheek, it is questionable whether we should laud a product that intentionally excludes others. Thus, Chrissy, Emily, and I created an advertisement to send the message that the large size of the Yorkie bar should not prohibit females from consuming it. In our reinvention of the wrapper, we maintain similar elements of the original so that it is seen as a direct response. Thus, we kept the same large, bold block font but replaced the text with “ANYONE CAN WEAR PINK… AND ANYONE CAN ENJOY A YORKIE.” This destroys the notion that pink is traditionally considered to be a color only enjoyed by women and demonstrates that pink is a color that can be worn by all sexes, just as a Yorkie can be enjoyed by all sexes.

Additionally, we changed the bottom slogan to “Yorkie: Available in ALL Colors” in order to once again illustrate an atmosphere of inclusivity. By alternating the standard bold block lettering along with a flowery cursive font, we hoped to demonstrate that masculine and feminine elements could coincide with each other in harmony. To further reinforce this message, we replaced the image of the crossed-out woman with a male and female holding hands, showing that men and women can enjoy Yorkie bars together. It is our hope that this new advertisement serves as a remedy to sexist advertising on both sides: to the original Yorkie campaign that intentionally excludes women, but also to the traditional, flowery advertising of chocolate products that exclude men.

Works Cited

Badenoch, Alexander, Moss, Sarah (2009). Chocolate: A Global History. Reaktion Books, London, UK.

Nestle, UK. http://www.nestle.co.uk/brands/Chocolate_and_Confectionery/Chocolate/Pages/Yorkie.aspx

OFlaherty, Kelly (2008). “Brands make a play for women.” Marketing Week Magazine. http://www.marketingweek.co.uk/brands-make-a-play-for-women/2062654.article.

Smith, P.R., Taylor, J. (2004). Marketing Communications: An Integrated Approach. Kogan Page Publishers, London, UK.

Gender Specific Advertising

The role of gender in advertisement is prevalent among a large number of chocolate adverts. Chocolate is associated with being sexy, sensual, romantic, and the female figure is very often associated with these words. Not only do chocolate adverts depict women, they also target females as their consumers. Women on general buy more chocolate than men. “Mintel Group data show that 90% of U.S. women buy chocolates versus 82% of men” (Facts, figures, future).I came across this article that discusses the shift to cater towards the men in the supermarket. “Chocolates could be among the first categories to “man shape.” Specialty chocolate makers have already mixed savory with sweet (think bacon chocolate) and spicy with sweet (pepper chocolates) for several years” (Facts, figures, future). The role of the male in the household is on the rise and they are expected to contribute to more of the previous female-typified chores, such as cooking. Personal image plays a big role in gendering food items. One of the reasons that males may buy less chocolate is that the industry just doesn’t cater to them.

However, although the industry might not cater directly towards males, there appears to be a very sexist approach to chocolate. The BBC released an article on the sensory experience of chocolate and stated, “both men and women can experience the pleasure of chocolate but women’s superior sense of smell means that they may be more likely to enjoy the ride” (BBC). Depicting women in a sense of arousal or sensual experience is the very epitome of chocolate advertisement. For instance Cadbury created the advertisement for their Flake bar. The woman is very obviously naked in a bath. She is shown in a seductive, alluring position, with her mouth open. This association with chocolate is a common scene and the female gender dominates it.

flake advert

On the other hand, the male is very rarely pictured in chocolate advertisements. However, when searching for an advertisement that caters towards the male consumer, I came across the Yorkie Bar. The Yorkie Bar was created by Nestle in 1976 and rivalled Cadbury’s Dairy Milk by creating a chunkier version. The bar contains 5 big chunks of chocolate and is associated with being ‘king-size’. Growing up in my childhood with this bar, the marketing and branding did put me off purchasing the product. I did eat it, but was always put off by the packaging and my brothers would make comments when I chose a Yorkie Bar as my candy choice. This demoralising approach to the female consumer is sexist in my eyes. There were two adverts with slogans that stood out to me. These slogans were “kingsize, not queensize” and “not available in pink”, both depicted below. Blocking off the female consumer is what caused controversy. A bar catering towards men only had not been seen before. Although many chocolate bar advertisements included females, they never refrained the male from purchasing it. This advertisement stood out like a sore thumb in advertising. The two slogans act as a barrier to the female viewer of consumption of the product. They deter the female and invite the male.

fullPR-04803-452-1

114100916__341964c

In response to this advert, my group decided to take on these slogans. The response is picture below.

Fit for a queen

The first step was to find a picture of a female on a queen-size bed, making it pink, and placing an intelligent slogan to accompany it. By placing the female figure on the queen-size bed we would counteract the caption defining the Yorkie bar as king-size. Our slogan that we created also came into play with this wording. “Fit for a queen” was a response to Nestle targeting their Yorkie bar to the male consumer. We wanted to iterate that the chocolate bar is not just for a man but also a woman. We pushed this boundary further through the use of colour. This was in response to the advertisement with the slogan “not available in pink”. Hence by displaying the chocolate bar in a pink wrapper it totally contradicts this slogan. The bed was also coloured pink to further emphasise this point. Although the name of the bar ‘Yorkie’ comes from the city of York, we altered the meaning to this word. We chose to reference the Yorkshire terrier dog (aka Yorkie) as it added a girly perspective to a woman and her toy dog. The advertisement we created is just a response to Yorkie’s advertisements. The aim was to create a far-fetched response that contradicts greatly to the original advertisements. It is not to act in-place of the original but rather open peoples eyes to what was happening in this particular case.

Works cited

Roxby, Philippa. “Chocolate Craving Comes from Total Sensory Pleasure.” BBC News. N.p., 26 July 2013. Web. 11 Apr. 2014. <http://www.bbc.com/news/health-23449795&gt;.

“Will Manlier Chocolates Sweeten Category?” Home. Jan. 2012. Web. 11 Apr. 2014. <http://www.factsfiguresfuture.com/issues/january-2012/will-manlier-chocolates-sweeten-category.html&gt;.

Digital image. Daily Mail. Web. 10 Apr. 2014. <http://i.dailymail.co.uk/i/pix/2010/03/05/article-1255749-001BC3F000000258-331_468x355.jpg&gt;.

Digital image. The Times. Web. 7 Apr. 2014. <http://www.thetimes.co.uk/tto/multimedia/archive/00341/114100916__341964c.jpg&gt;.

Digital image. Blogspot. Web. 7 Apr. 2014. <http://2.bp.blogspot.com/-xFUbuXihmFU/URoL3XpWHQI/AAAAAAAAAj8/Fyg-bMXa-lk/s1600/fullPR-04803-452-1.jpg&gt;.

Shattering a Chunk of Chauvinism: Rebranding Nestle-Rowntree’s Yorkie

When introduced to Europe, chocolate was seen as a dangerous stimulant, tempting individuals into sin (Coe and Coe, 2013). Today, however, one of the major concerns around Theobroma cacao focuses on another issue: its gendered reputation. Chocolate is touted as a feminine panacea, whether satisfying “pesky” sugar cravings (Okura, 2009), pacifying PMS-induced outbursts (Black, 2010), or even replacing a “needed” boyfriend (Miller, 2014). How, then, can candy companies convince Y-chromosome bearers to consume their bars, beverages, and confections? For the Nestle corporation, advertising provides the answer. In an effort to make its Yorkie bar a food for “real men,” Nestle explicitly prohibits women from consuming it. To combat such sexism, Chrissy Rodgriguez, Alicia Zhu, and I have manipulated a still image from Nestle’s marketing campaign. By altering the original, chauvinistic slogans and imagery, we redefine Yorkie as a symbol of gender inclusion, rather than one of sex-based stereotyping and exclusion.

Yorkie has long been marketed using gender clichés. Launched by British confectioner Rowntree in 1976, the bar represented an attempt to “take on” the “female-targeted” chocolate market (Nestle, 2014; Smith and Taylor, 2004). The “slimmed down” Cadbury’s Dairy Milk, Rowntree claimed, would not satisfy men’s (hefty) appetites; rather, British “blokes” required the “big and chunky” Yorkie, consisting of five “bricks” of milk chocolate (Moss and Badenoch, 2009; Smith and Taylor, 2004). To convince male consumers that Yorkie was indeed food for “real men,” Rowntree created the Yorkie Trucker advertising campaign (Smith and Taylor, 2004).

The commercial featured a young, “rugged” truck driver, driving a large freighter (Moss and Badenoch, 2009). Struck by hunger en route, he turns to the “good, rich, and thick” Yorkie to power him through a “long day’s run” in his “big old mill” (truck), snapping off a large piece, cramming it into his mouth, and chewing it forcefully. Having (momentarily) assuaged his appetite, he can safely return to “pounding” the “roads from coast to coast.” Through portraying the Yorkie as a “chunky big mouthful,” Rowntree established it as being worthy of truckers and other “real men,” with large, “masculine” appetites (Moss and Badenoch, 2009). The message was clear: by eating Rowntree’s “milk chocolate brick,” men would gain the energy needed to build and sustain their masculinity, in both body and mind.

While “firmly” establishing Yorkie as a man’s companion, the Trucker advertisements proved to have a limited shelf life (Smith and Taylor, 2004). After 25 years, the bar’s popularity was flagging: between 2000 and 2001 alone, sales dropped by 2.9 million pounds (Reynolds, 2006). But for Rowntree, now a subsidiary of multinational food corporation Nestle (Associated Press, 1988), Yorkie’s decline meant more than diminishing revenue. To Marketing Director Andrew Harrison, the decline of the “milk chocolate brick” symbolized that of masculine power as a whole (Smith and Taylor, 2004). With women having the nerve to “get better [university] degrees” and “drink pints,” Harrison claimed, men’s “happiness” was in grave danger – and remedying the problem required “reclaiming” “their” Yorkie (Smith and Taylor, 2004; Western Mail, 2002). But how could “British blokes” combat such “unstoppable” female encroachment? According to Nestle-Rowntree’s new print campaign (Fig. 2), this “reclaiming process” required not only enforcing gender stereotypes, but also explicitly espousing gender exclusion (Western Mail, 2002).

Slide1

Fig. 2. Nestle-Rowntree’s 21st century print advertisement for the Yorkie bar.

Like its 1976 predecessor, the advertisement uses gender stereotypes to paint Yorkie as a quintessential “male” confection. The bar is pictured in a deep, dark blue wrapper, on which its name is written in large, capital letters, and heavily shadowed.

By employing navy blue, a traditionally “male” color, and emphasizing physical size, Nestle-Rowntree imbues its chocolate with an air of imposing heft, supporting the stereotype that “real men” have robust bodies and dominant behavior. Such stereotyping is already offensive – but additional elements make the ad truly exceptional in its sexism. Introduced as being “NOT AVAILABLE IN PINK,” the bar is marketed under the slogan “IT’S NOT FOR GIRLS.” To reinforce this misogynistic message, a “no women symbol” (red circle containing a woman symbol, with a slash through it) is pictured twice, in the “O” in “YORKIE and after the “IT’S NOT FOR GIRLS” slogan. In addition to upholding another gender norm (i.e., that all girls wear pink), these statements create a sense of inter-sex warfare. By holding that “male” and “female” are clear, mutually exclusive categories, Nestle-Rowntree implies that men and women are so different that they cannot coexist peacefully, let alone consume the same products. Rather, achieving “happiness” requires that each sex obey “rules” of traditional gender roles – including the pictured “NOT FOR GIRLS” symbol.

Outraged by the above claims, Chrissy, Alicia, and I manipulated Nestle-Rowntree’s advertisement (Fig. 3) to “re-rebrand” the Yorkie as a symbol of gender inclusivity rather than chauvinistic exclusivity.

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Fig. 3. Our “re-rebranding” of Nestle-Rowntree’s Yorkie.

Our image shows the bar, in its original location and wrapping; however, we introduce the image with the statement “ANYONE CAN WEAR PINK…AND ANYONE CAN ENJOY A YORKIE.” By giving the facts – that pink is just another color, rather than blue’s supposed “female” adversary – we show that the gender binaries espoused by Nestle-Rowntree are products of cultural tradition, rather than objective truths. Thus, individuals do not need to obey gendered “laws” in their choices, whether of colors or candy. Alterations to the bar’s wrapper and the advertisement’s slogan reinforce this message: the confection is now marketed as “YORKIE: AVAILABLE in ALL colors,” and the “no girls” symbols have been replaced with those of a man and woman holding hands. Combining traditional signs of femininity and masculinity – i.e., pink and blue and uppercase with cursive – changes their meaning. Originally employed to uphold traditional gender barriers, these elements now challenge such arbitrary and artificial distinctions. By redesigning media, we create a new message, transforming Yorkie from a symbol of sexism into a tool to counter it.

While particularly explicit, Nestle-Rowntree’s sexist strategy is hardly rare in modern chocolate advertising. Faced with an increasingly competitive global candy market, many confectioners have turned to discrimination – whether regarding gender, race, or class – to distinguish their products. Yet, this approach is wholly unnecessary. By upholding binary stereotypes, corporations undermine their principal interest: maximizing their market share. As the gradual decline in Yorkie’s profits shows, long-term success does not come from exclusion, but instead from welcoming all individuals as potential customers.

References

Associated Press, 1988. Rowntree Accepts Bid By Nestle, New York Times. Conde Nast, New York, NY.

Black, R., 2010. Betty Crocker ‘PMS SOS’ iPhone app tracks your monthly cycle, sends coupons for chocolate desserts, New York Daily News. Mortimer Zuckerman, New York, NY.

Coe, S.D., Coe, M.D., 2013. The True History of Chocolate Thames and Hudson, London.

Johnson, D., 2002. YORKIE BAR; City crackdown halts chocolate campaign., Liverpool Echo, Liverpool, UK.

Loveman, K., 2013. The Introduction of Chocolate into England: Retailers, Researchers, and Consumers, 1640-1730. Journal of Social History 47, 27-46.

Miller, N., 2014. Boyfriend Replacement: Chocolate Bar, 3 Oz.

Moss, S., Badenoch, A., 2009. Chocolate: A Global History. Reaktion Books Ltd, London, UK.

Nestle, 2014. Yorkie.

Okura, L., 2009. Chocolate’s Dark Magic: Why Women Crave Chocolate. Oprah Magazine.

Reynolds, M., 2006. Trade Marks Act 1994: Youki Food Company Ltd v. Societe des Produits Nestle SA

Smith, P.R., Taylor, J., 2004. Marketing Communications: An Integrated Approach. Kogan Page Publishers, London, UK.

Western Mail, 2002. Yorkie’s ‘not for truckers – and not for women’, Western Mail, Cardiff, Wales.