When the stationary good company BIC recently came out with a line of pink and purple pens "for her," the ad campaign was ridiculed across various social media platforms due to its implication that men and women could not use the same pens. The "girly" pens, which BIC pitched as "designed to fit comfortably in a woman's hand," were met with a wall of sarcasm in the Twitterverse and beyond.
Well, the corporate world has evidently learned little to nothing from the BIC debacle, because now Oikos, the yogurt brand now owned by Dannon, is marketing a line of black-labeled, masculine yogurts—for men, and don't you forget it!
Branded as "the official yogurt of the NFL," the new Oikos yogurt advertising claims it is "a snack to show that inbox who's boss." Sounds like this is some testosterone pumped-up lactose, don't you think? The yogurt ad also encourages its audience to "Be Unstoppable." We don't know about you, but just reading that ad makes us want to do manly things, stat.
Here's what Oikos's Twitter game looked like before the change:
Evidently, Oikos wants to counter the impression that yogurt is feminine. On social media, they are encouraging consumers to #SnackLikeAChamp, and we assume they are not talking to the ladies out there. Promoting the yogurt as a protein-laced, pre-workout snack, Oikos is not taking the subtle route here in targeting the male demographic.
Senior Director of Public Relations for Dannon Michael Neuwirth, told MUNCHIES, "We're on a mission to help get Americans to enjoy yogurt every day because it's delicious and nutritious, and Dannon Oikos was the first better-for-you food brand to ever advertise in the Super Bowl, in 2012, followed by another hugely successful Super Bowl ad in 2014."
Here's what Oikos has been tweeting since starting the marketing initiative:
Neuwirth goes on to explain, "Since then, in 2015 we became the official yogurt sponsor of the NFL because we want to help Americans see how yogurt and our brands are the best choices they can make. We don't see wings and nachos coming off the game-time menu any time soon, but yogurt and Oikos in particular is a great get-back-on-track snack before kickoff or after the final whistle."
It's most certainly a good thing that companies are actively trying to dispel gender tropes about eating healthy, but this sort of heavy-handed marketing probably isn't the best approach. You certainly have to give Oikos and Dannon props for trying to court an otherwise-ignored segment of their consumers.