Sunday, 24 June 2007

Less than 190 calories per pack!

I love Maltesers, but boy does that graphic on the bottom right hand corner of the packet piss me off. In case you can't read it, it says, "Less than 190 calories per pack" and there's a Malteser with a friggin' HALO above it.

Advertisers constantly encourage women to have an emotional relationship with food, or capitalise on their existing emotional relationship with food - it's difficult to tell which came first, but they feed (pun intended) on one another.

It can be misleading too. "Less than 190 calories per pack" isn't particularly saintly at all when you consider that for your 190 calories you're getting only about 10 of the things, and flipping the packet over reveals them to be 25% fat and 63% sugar with virtually no positive nutritional value. You could get something much more satisfying and nutritious for around the same number of calories - half a Snickers bar for example would be much more filling and provide you with lots of protein and monounsaturated fat. But you can't eat a Snickers bar because it's man food - "Snickers really satisfies" is a man slogan. Maltesers though - "The lighter way to enjoy chocolate" - give a woman permission to stuff her face with impunity.

Man adverts stress functionality. Food is there to satisfy hunger. Snickers really satisfies. Girl adverts equate chocolate with sex, validation of self-worth, "naughtiness" (this is so creamy and chocolatey and naughty, oh go on, be naughty) or "saintliness" (half the calories, so you can eat twice as much!)

Why on earth does chocolate advertising have to be so gender-specific anyway? I would have thought it a rather silly approach, only marketing to 50% of the population. Having sat here racking my brains for quite some time, I can only think of one truly gender-neutral chocolate bar and that's KitKat. I'd hazard a guess that it's not just the well-established nature of the brand that makes KitKat the UK's best-selling chocolate bar. It's the fact that they don't market themselves solely to sexually frustrated women in their early thirties suffering from hypoglycaemia brought on by the sodding Atkins diet.

Perhaps I ought to boycott "girl chocolate", but I like Maltesers and Kinder Buenos too much to do that. It's a terrible dilemma. Perhaps I ought to have some Maltesers whilst I think about it.


Alex Turner said...

KitKat, of course, being manufactured by those bastards at Nestlé (google babymilkaction if you don't know what I mean).

Discussed this briefly at angryyoungwomen a while back: Yorkies - 'not for girls' (although again Nestlé so I've boycotted them for years); McCoys -'man crisps' (do you boycott them for sexist advertising or carry on buying them to make a point?)

I guess they're all just evil. We should grow our own...

(*Daydreams now about growing own chocolate tree. Mmmmm*)

The Urban Feminist said...

Yep, Nestle are evil and since there are lots of yummy alternatives to all of their chocolate-based products I never buy them. However, I do have to give a grudging thumbs up to the KitKat adverts.

Blackheath Bugle said...

I'd hold off on your praise for KitKat until you've seen their latest set of ads.