Friday, 9 August 2013

What’s With The ‘Man Food’?

There have always been products that are labelled ‘man-sized’, but the whole ‘man’ element in product marketing seems to have grown. A strange concept in an ever more politically correct world.

‘Man-sized’ tissues have been around for as long as I can remember and I’ve never really questioned whether they should just have been termed ‘large’ instead. But just because a product is a little larger than average does this warrant it being called ‘man-sized’, especially in these days of equality?

We don’t even have policemen these days – we have police officers. Firemen have been replaced by firefighters and many other terms have been adapted to include the word ‘person’ instead of ‘man’. Should this trend extend to products too?

In the 70s, Yorkie jumped on the bandwagon (or haulage truck), showing a lorry driver tucking into one of their chunky chocolate bars on their TV ads. In their more recent adverts they took the ‘not for girls’ approach, which was quite fun and tongue-in-cheek, rather than a serious ‘man’ campaign. Most recently Yorkie have introduced ‘Man Size Buttons’ but I do find this a bit odd.

Whilst snacking on a pack of McCoys crisps I noticed that they were being referred to as ‘Man Crisps’ and that’s when I decided this whole man thing was going a bit far. What do the manufacturers hope to achieve by awarding a product the title ‘man’?
It doesn’t make me want to buy a product more, if anything slightly less. I thought perhaps I was missing the point so I decided to ask a few men if the products were more appealing to them when the term ‘man’ was applied. The response I received was a resounding, “No!”

OK, so maybe I didn’t hold a huge national survey, so my results may not have been entirely accurate, but the opinion was that people bought products because of their taste, rather than their image. The men I talked to buy a chocolate bar regardless of the packaging or name – they don’t feel that there’s anything ‘unmanly’ about chocolate in the first place! The same approach applies to crisps.

I notice that the people who come up with these names and slogans never award a product the title ‘girl’ or ‘woman’, should we feel hard done by? Well no, I would feel more patronised if a product was emblazoned with such labelling.

Of course, I’m not counting products in all of this that are made expressly for either men or women, such as deodorants, shaving cream or perfume.

Maybe it’s time to think of some new names and slogans to replace this whole ‘man’ thing. Any suggestions?

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