In the week where Cadbury launched a chocolate bar for women with a seven million pound advertising campaign I feel as if I’ve entered a time-machine and been transported back 50 years to the era of Mad Men.
It completely bemuses me that brands continue to launch products with multi-million pound advertising campaigns focused squarely on which sex they are aimed at.
I give you the Crispello, Cadbury’s latest product launch, a chocolate covered wafer in resealable packaging so the three pieces can be eaten separately, for “women who are weight-conscious”.
Then there’s the Bic for Her pen, which among its five key selling points on Amazon lists “designed to fit comfortably in a woman’s hand” and “attractive barrel design available in pink and purple”. No I am not joking.
Of course there are numerous products that have to be specifically designed for male or female consumers and I fully accept that.
But really, are my hands significantly different to a small man’s, or is he expected to buy Bic for Her too so he can write comfortably? Is my chocolate need so entirely different to a man’s, and really, am I going to reseal and eat it in three stages? Highly unlikely and if I did reseal the Crispello you can guarantee one of my colleagues would finish it off, probably one of the men, oh no….wait!
Can you imagine the backlash if Nissan brought out a car that was “easy for women to park”, or Garmin a sat nav with directions that “even men pay attention to”?
The whole thing reminds me of the advertising campaigns that were rife in the 50s and 60s where posters gleefully displayed slogans like “Don’t worry dear, you didn’t burn the beer”, “you mean a woman can open it?” and “Married? No reason to neglect stockings”! Looking back these ads were truly dreadful, but they were of their time, appropriate for the sentiments of the era and we can think “how ridiculous, but quaint”.
So, come on product development teams and marketeers, let’s be a bit more creative. The whole battle of the sexes has been done to death, time to come up with something a bit more relevant and ground-breaking.