Every time you turn around, marketers find new ways to be dumb. Last night, Dodge managed to anger the world by trying to make money off the memory of Martin Luther King, Jr. And now, Doritos has put its big brand foot right in it by telling women they aren't man enough to enjoy chips.

One company after another indulges in ads that are racist. Executives pony up to hire influencer marketers when there is abundant evidence that much of the desired audiences are rented.

Companies don't learn, and PepsiCo, owner of Doritos, apparently doesn't either when it comes to gender-specific marketing -- amazing, given that the company's CEO, Indra Nooyi, is a woman. Bic found itself excoriated over woman-specific pens that were "designed to fit comfortably in a woman's hand."

Doritos decided to create a "lady-friendly" chip, according to an interview with Nooyi on the Freakonomics radio show. Here's what she said:

When you eat out of a flex bag -- one of our single-serve bags -- especially as you watch a lot of the young guys eat the chips, they love their Doritos, and they lick their fingers with great glee, and when they reach the bottom of the bag they pour the little broken pieces into their mouth, because they don't want to lose that taste of the flavor, and the broken chips in the bottom. Women would love to do the same, but they don't. They don't like to crunch too loudly in public. And they don't lick their fingers generously and they don't like to pour the little broken pieces and the flavor into their mouth.

Oh, my, how many ways can you go wrong? Women don't like to crunch chips loudly in public? Pretty general and shallow. And does that mean they don't want chips that are extremely crisp? Or they don't want that weird stuff coating Doritos all over their fingers? Maybe. But that doesn't mean creating a second line of snacks for women will be successful.

The implication is that men can handle Doritos but that women are too ... how to put this ... delicate? Meek? Weak? And the snack package has to fit into a purse -- so, what, smaller than what men get? -- because women clearly don't grab a bag of chips to go with lunch and eat it, or bring all the items in a bag with them. Of course they'll put it in their purse. Look at all the men who stuff bags of chips into their pockets or briefcases. Oh, right, they don't.

And the cutting responses have already started.

Published on: Feb 5, 2018
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