Recently, the chief executive officer of PepsiCo, the company that manufactures Doritos, explained in a podcast that she would like to plan a female version of the popular chips. Naturally, these so-called “Lady Doritos” have caused a huge frenzy on the Internet. A New York Times article explains the entire situation.
After noticing the stir created as a response to what the CEO said, Doritos stated on Twitter that they will not be making any gender-specific chip in a short and sweet way.
That’s it. That’s Doritos’ way of handling this situation. It’s not much, but it’s effective. From a public relations standpoint, this is their version of an issue statement, and though it may be a small one, it is by no means an inferior one. They recognized what was going on, they addressed the problem, and they used their response as a way to remind consumers that Doritos are loved by both men and women.
If Doritos were to write a little longer of an issue statement, I would advise them to explain the circumstance more. For people who follow Doritos on Twitter who were not aware of what was going on, this tweet might have seemed significantly out of context. In addition, it would be smart for Doritos to affirm that they stand for gender equality, which is what this situation is ultimately about.
Actions Doritos could take to further emphasize that they are against gender discrimination could be to create a commercial, what they are most known for, addressing that their chips are made for everyone. They could take a humorous approach to this since that is expected of them, but they would need to make sure that the message of gender equality is clearly there.
In the future, Doritos can better communicate with PepsiCo to make sure that a problem like this does not happen again. It seems as if Doritos didn’t know that the CEO was planning these new chips, and even after Doritos assured that they will not be making them, she still continued to talk about her plans. Consistency is necessary, especially because this is such a large brand. PepsiCo sets an example for companies across the globe, and they are responsible for effectively keeping their public informed about all of their initiatives.
There is certainly no simple fix to gender inequality, and I am aware we are years away from a world where there are no products branded specifically for women that don’t need to be. But Doritos taking a stance on this now could be a step towards that possible future.