In fact, it’s actually possible to turn gender marketing into a bit of a joke and then translate the joke into successful sales. This was proved a few years ago by the world’s biggest food group, Nestlé. The company launched a large-scale advertising campaign, promoting Yorkies chocolate bars with the label “It’s not for girls”. At the same time Nestlé used a series of videos where women dressed up as men in order to get the chocolate. The result: several supermarkets and authorities banned the item on the grounds of sexism, while others – including many women – recognised the tongue-in-cheek purpose of the polarising advertising strategy and actually bought more of those men-only bars.
But it is in fact true that there are gender-specific differences in the buying behaviour of men and women, and these differences are exploited by packaging designers. Faced with everyday products, women are far more likely to read the details printed on the packaging, while men prefer to buy familiar brands or – in the case of complex technical equipment – find out in detail before making a purchase. Other parameters that play a role are the material, size, weight and of course the product line.