"There is difference and there is power. And who holds the power decides the meaning of the difference." --June Jordan

Wednesday, March 21, 2007

Yorkie: It's Not for Girls!

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Months ago, I heard about Nestle's Yorkie: a big, hearty chocolate bar, sold almost exclusively in the UK, that uses the ad slogan, "It's Not for Girls". Weeks ago, I happened to see one up close at my local World Market store. And just days ago, my friend Katie came to visit from her home in New York City, and she brought with her a just-purchased Yorkie bar, knowing it was something she couldn't resist showing me. So, since it was already in our possession, I just had to see what all of the fuss was about.

We studied the wrapper for its ingredients and any other writing, looking to find any information as to why it should not be consumed by females. We tore it open, we each snapped off a square, and, knowingly engaging in an activity expressly discouraged by the wrapper, we ate it.

And you know what? Nothing happened. No British police came out to arrest or even chastise us for our transgression. And, to our disappointment, it was just plain, old chocolate. The only thing we could figure was that they decided to market it to men simply because it's bigger than your typical chocolate bar, with almost twice the fat and calories. And, as you know, men are the only ones who are given the advertising message that they are entitled to enjoy large amounts of rich and hearty food without being made to feel that it is a special treat. Advertising aimed at women usually encourages us to "be good" or to "be bad" with the foods we choose, making sure we know that eating something in a large quantity or eating something especially unhealthy is an unladylike indulgence. A guilty pleasure.

At any rate, a little research on the Yorkie bar yielded these results: (From the Yorkie page on the Nestle UK site)

Yorkie was launched in 1976 to take on brands such as Cadbury’s Dairy Milk and provide a chunkier alternative to the slimmed down Dairy Milk bars.

Names originally under consideration for Yorkie included "O’Hara", "Trek" and "Rations".

Within two years of its launch, Yorkie topped 13 thousand tonnes and became firmly established as a big, solid, chunky eat, uniquely for men. Advertising reflected this with macho imagery - lorry drivers who take it one chunk at a time.


Now have a look at an old classic Yorkie TV commercial:



Apparently, in response to the idea embedded in pop culture that chocolate is a sweet that is craved and obsessed over by women, Nestle decided to breathe new life into the Yorkie bar by "reclaiming" chocolate for men.

A more recent Yorkie commercial:




The website explains:

In 2001 the Yorkie "It’s Not for Girls" campaign was launched because, in today’s society, there aren’t many things that a man can look at and say that’s for him.


Amnesty International estimates that only 1 percent of the world's wealth is owned by women, and that women make up 70 percent of the world's poor. Only ten of the 500 largest corporations in the world are run by women, and women make up only just under 17 percent of the world's politicians, and this number is a record high. But Nestle is right. Men have been dealt a bad hand. There just aren't many things they can look at and say that's for them. It makes perfect sense that they should have their own chocolate bar.

19 comments:

Anonymous said...

I agree. I think the fact that Nestle decided to use such a slogan is absolutely disgusting. Although, I couldn't decide if their slogan was because women were 'too weak' to handle the overwhelmingly delicious chocolate, or because we just can't eat it or we won't be thin enough. Either way, it never should've been used, and I think women should either boycott the product or Nestle products at large. Nestle should also issue a public apology.

james said...

i think its a fantastic bit of marketing, both with its macho image giving the typical British 'lad' a sweet snack not to be ashamed of but i think the is some inverted marketing in the campaign. many of my female friends, greatly angered by the slogan and message backlash against its apparent aim and buy it themselves in some rebellious self righteous feminism.
its genious

Anonymous said...

"many of my female friends, greatly angered by the slogan and message backlash against its apparent aim and buy it themselves in some rebellious self righteous feminism.
its genious"

Indeed, this kind of marketing does place women in a paradoxical position.

Silence said...

I can't get too excited about this. It's a stupid campaign, I'll say that much; and I won't fall into the "buying in order to prove them wrong", thing. If they reject custom they lose the custom, simple as that.

But I do think it's possible to go a little over the top in criticising, and frankly this post did. I think when Nestle talk about men 'in our society' having something they can call theirs, they're probably *not* offering a detailed treatise on global poverty or wealth distribution. They're selling (or refusing to sell, as it might be) chocolate. And in Adland, at least, men definitely do get a rough deal. Sure, I take the point about girls being told that food's all about being 'good' or 'bad', and I agree absolutely fiercely that that (among other things) should stop. But it's also true that in advertising, it seems to be considered okay to subject men to the sort of bare-faced, blatant sexism and outright mockery that would never be tolerated nowadays if it was directed towards women. Haven't you noticed advertising perpetuating this myth of all women being multitasking omni-talented superhumans, while portraying all men as worthless primitive lumps incapable of anything not related to cars, beer and football?

I don't particularly want an apology from Nestle. I'd just like them to grow up. It's been *ten years* now. They can do it without comment if they like and I'd say no more about it.

Anonymous said...

In this politically correct world, where you can't say this or do that, it's great that a major company bucks the trend. Let's not be clones and robots of the dogma of the day!

hopster said...

i think the person who said that the slogan was disgusting is just rather pathetic, its a slogan and s bit of fun it does not have anything to do with weakness or inability to eat it it is just a clever marketing capaine no they dont need to offer an apology you sill person it was a great idea and it worked so just because there slogan was its not for girls, you wouldnt buy it that makes you even worse and to be honest the amount of stuff women have as all the shops on the high street mostly are womens clothing and half the adverts on tele represents womens makeup i think it is perfectly fair and there slogan is just a small laugh you are a person who just loves to complain and i think this slogan should live on and i am saying this when i am woman myself.

hopster said...

i think the person who said that the slogan was disgusting is just rather pathetic, its a slogan and s bit of fun it does not have anything to do with weakness or inability to eat it it is just a clever marketing capaine no they dont need to offer an apology you sill person it was a great idea and it worked so just because there slogan was its not for girls, you wouldnt buy it that makes you even worse and to be honest the amount of stuff women have as all the shops on the high street mostly are womens clothing and half the adverts on tele represents womens makeup i think it is perfectly fair and there slogan is just a small laugh you are a person who just loves to complain and i think this slogan should live on and i am saying this when i am woman myself.

Rei Malebario said...

I tried one in Gatwick Airport curious about what this "not for girls" snack would taste of and I think I can say that they're right in saying it isn't for girls - they just forgot to mention that it isn't for anybody else either.
Really, what they should be writing for accuracy would be "not for persons" because this is awful, awful chocolate. It was like biting into a chunk of hardened confectioner's sugar with a slight chocolate aroma.
Perhaps they reckon women have had some much, much better chocolate aggresively marketed at them and might thus have more discerning tastes where men have generally mainly been targeted by ads for products that aren't chocolate.

Anonymous said...

Shame on you, its a marketing trick like " Don't press the red button".

How do you confuse an idiot?
Tiger.

Anonymous said...

Get over it you feminist weirdos!!! Women seem to claim chocolate as their own, let us have our own bar. Stop trying to be equals with men.... It will never be!! :-)

Anonymous said...

It's so pathetic that people feel the need to use mindless sexism just to sell a product that isn't even that good anyway, I've tried it. Women are still treated with ridiculous amounts of disrespect and this just proves it, and I am guessing that the people who thought of it were men.

Anonymous said...

It's so pathetic that people feel the need to use mindless sexism just to sell a product that isn't even that good anyway, I've tried it. Women are still treated with ridiculous amounts of disrespect and this just proves it, and I am guessing that the people who thought of it were men.

Trevor Rollin said...

Shut up you silly, highly-strung whores. Back in the kitchen!

Anonymous said...

"In this politically correct world, where you can't say this or do that, it's great that a major company bucks the trend. Let's not be clones and robots of the dogma of the day!"

All you fems getting worked up over a silly but harmless slogan 'for men', where's your sense of humour. You don't see us blokes having a hissy fit over ads for women/denigrating men do you?

Now if you'll excuse me, I have to finish my 'man-only' Yorkie (munch, munch....)

Anonymous said...

Ironically this article highlights a common difference between men and women.

As a man, I read "it's not for girls" as a simple statement about a chocolate bar - It's not intended for girls - rather than about women.

But the female author is reading implications of belittling insult into that very simple statement.

Why not take it as it presents itself?

Women are awesome, strong, intelligent, gifted, necessary birthers of human life and capable superheros, but this chocolate bar is not geared towards them.

Stop looking for some hidden meaning as to "why it's not for girls"! Men are the target audience that's all.

david caffrey said...

girls just can't take the chocolateyness,get back in the kitchen

david caffrey said...

girls just can't take the chocolatyness, now get back in the kitchen and stop complaining

Anonymous said...

omg some people. go fight sure something worthwhile...why don't you increase the amount of women in the military? why should mainly only guys die?

Anonymous said...

I (a female) haven't had a Yorkie bar in years. The Almond variant was my choc of choice in the mid to late 1980's. I would have several bars per week. I remember the 80's trucker TV ad for the bar, but it never occurred to me that Yorkie was not for girls. Not sure how seriously I would have taken the (now discontinued) TV ad slogan "It's not for girls".