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Why A “Just For Women” Chocolate Bar Gives Me a Toothache

Why A “Just For Women” Chocolate Bar Gives Me a Toothache
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Sales of chocolate are reportedly down 6.6 percent at Cadbury because women are buying less: What’s a candy company to do?

Make a product just for that demographic (women) — with fewer calories (165) than ye typical candy bar’s 260  – because, as a company spokesman tells the Daily Mail,

The mix of wafer and chocolate is a lighter way to eat chocolate and we know from experience that women are attracted to this particular format.

It will also appeal to women because it is in three separate portions so they can consume a little at a time rather than in one go.

That’s right. Not only is Cadbury telling woman that its new Crispello bar is “a little treat for you,” it’s telling women how they can best go about eating this new “gynocentric” product. It’s even invested about $10 million in a marketing campaign to that end.

What makes Crispello “for women” is, says Cadbury, that it has “three curved crispy wafer shells, each one filled with a smooth creamy center, dipped in Cadbury milk chocolate” in a resealable package. The idea seems to be that women will want to eat only one piece at a time because of their dainty appetites or because they have to watch those calories?

What’s Wrong About Cadbury’s “For Women” Candy Bar

Business Week spells out why the Crispello is offensive. As marketing consultant Joan Steuer says, telling women how to eat their food is a “bit of a no-no” as “women have an emotional relationship with chocolate, it’s the most emotional food on the planet. We don’t need to be told what to do with our chocolate. We’ll do the opposite.” From the Cadbury spokesman’s comments to the Crispello’s packaging, this candy bar is simply condescending.

Cadbury has also made the fatal error of presuming that all women have similar eating habits. Emma Barnett of the Telegraph notes that people and women “fail to fit into little boxes quite so neatly as they once did”; both candy bar and the accompanying marketing campaign are reaching back a few decades and are “unbelievably retro.” The Crispello plays right into long-established, hopelessly outdated gender stereotypes, says Barnett, in contrast to the marketing campaign for another candy bar, Nestlé’s Yorkie which deliberately played with gender roles:

The Yorkie bar approach of yesteryear – which was marketed with the slogan ‘It’s not for girls’ featuring truckers chowing down – did seem rather tongue in cheek – and if anything made women enjoy eating the forbidden bar spurred on out of mock rebellion. And because of this funny approach, neither gender really felt excluded from buying it.

It might seem excessive to devote so much energy to criticizing a candy bar, whoever it is targeted for. But the case of the Crispello raises questions about anything denoted as “just for women.”

To take another example, do we still need “women’s pages” in media publications?

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Photo by Chocolate Review

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187 comments

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1:26PM PDT on Sep 19, 2013

thnx for this. I didn't know.

2:44PM PST on Nov 5, 2012

No one tells me what sweets to eat! Or how many...

9:50AM PDT on Oct 21, 2012

those idiotic marketing folks!

4:47PM PDT on Oct 15, 2012

Funny - I have not seen any advertizing on this. The type of chocolate I buy really depends on what I want at the time. My preferred chocolate but do not make them too often as they are too good.

6:20AM PDT on Oct 15, 2012

Well I haven't tried this new thing, but I have seen the Yorkie candy bar and something about it being "not for women" -- I just laughed, said "Oh really?" and took a big chomp out of it. I've seen enough advertising in my life to feel that most of it is inane, over-generalized, and not a personal attack on myself.

Commercial advertising is usually so ridiculously ignorant of the realities of society that it's something I've just come to make fun of, rather than be offended by. I think if as a person you can get to that point, of being liberated from the psychological nonsense spewed forth by advertising, then you are effectively nullifying their power, and it's a great feeling. It works the same way for men, too--a lot of men's personal hygiene product ads (shaving stuff, deodorants etc.) seem to portray the "ideal man" as some clean-shaven guy with cut abs and a hairless body, but my husband doesn't look like that and he doesn't give a crap about trying to, and he is very stress-free because of that.

2:43AM PDT on Oct 15, 2012

Thank you

6:26PM PDT on Oct 14, 2012

How damn insulting!

2:56PM PDT on Oct 14, 2012

I think it's a great idea! Many women (and men) want just a bite of something sweet and not a whole candy bar. To my knowledge this will be the first resealable wrapper on a candy bar. I love the idea! If you feel offended, don't buy it, it's that simple.

8:15AM PDT on Oct 13, 2012

Thanks for sharing.

4:14AM PDT on Oct 13, 2012

Simple... If you want to sell poor product at an high price, then improve the packaging. Target a group and tell them it's "for them".

I avoid these like the plague. Being told it's especially for me is a sure sign that it's expensive crap. I look for specific claims - contents, verified indicators of quality and responsibility, and the *absence* of bullshit advertising.

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Kristina Chew Kristina Chew teaches and writes about ancient Greek and Latin and is Online Advocacy and Marketing... more
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