Lady Doritos is the hot topic of the day—not for spicy flavor, but sick burns directed at the company on social media. In an interview with WNYC’s Freakonomics, CEO of Doritos parent company PepsiCo Indra Nooyi—a woman—said they are developing snacks for women that don’t crunch as loud, leaving the internet to wonder . . . why?
According to Nooyi, women—unlike their male snacking counterparts—do not like to crunch too loudly in public, lick their fingers or pour the broken pieces into their mouth. To meet this driving need that has come to the attention of PepsiCo, the company will soon launch a “bunch” of snacks designed and packaged for women.
Nooyi describes the female-focused snack line as low-crunch and full-flavored but less likely to stick to fingers. In addition, the snacks will be portable because “women love to carry a snack in their purse.”
It’s true that male and female preferences may vary by culture—in Japan, it’s often considered rude to show one’s teeth while smiling, for example—but the idea that women have special, more delicate snacking needs came as a total surprise to American consumers.
The official Twitter account for 30 Rock had a bit of fun with the trending topic with a shout out to the show’s main character Liz Lemon and her love for Doritos crumbs.
We know one lady who has absolutely no problem with Doritos. pic.twitter.com/qWNzGIziLB
— 30 Rock (@nbc30rock) February 5, 2018
In fact, the only account seemingly in favor of the idea was Random House publishers, tweeting, “We don’t support Lady Doritos, but we do support the development of chips that leave less residue on your fingers. Think of the books!”
Doritos finally responded on Twitter in an attempt to smooth relations:
We already have Doritos for women — they’re called Doritos, and they’re loved by millions.
— Doritos (@Doritos) February 6, 2018
PepsiCo’s timing for a controversy is unfortunate, considering the praise it received for its Doritos Blaze vs. Mountain Dew Ice Super Bowl commercial. Fans were still playfully debating over who won an epic rap battle between Morgan Freeman and Peter Dinklage when “Lady Doritos” turned the conversation soggy.
The snacking giant also suffered a blow last spring when it aired a Pepsi commercial borrowing imagery from the Black Lives Matter movement. In the now infamous spot, Kendall Jenner seemingly ends strife between races by handing a police officer a can of Pepsi. The resulting backlash was so intense that even the daughter of Martin Luther King, Jr. mocked it. Pepsi pulled the ad and issued a formal apology.
Any brand can, even with the best intentions, miss the mark—but if we’ve learned anything from past mistakes, post those mistakes on the internet at your own risk.