A lot of us witnessed the brouhaha over the absolute insanity that was “Lady Doritos”, but do you know how this insane idea got started?
In an interview on the “Freakonomics Radio” podcast’s January 31st episode, Indra Nooyi, Chief Executive of PepsiCo, was describing how women eat Doritos differently than men.
“They don’t like to crunch too loudly in public,” she said. “And they don’t lick their fingers generously, and they don’t like to pour the little broken pieces and the flavor into their mouth.”
When asked whether the manufacturer of Doritos was exploring the possibility of a male and female version of chips, Nooyi replied, “It’s not a male and female as much as, ‘Are there snacks for women that can be designed and packaged differently?’ And yes, we are looking at it, and we’re getting ready to launch a bunch of them soon. For women, low-crunch, the full taste profile, not have so much of the flavor stick on the fingers, and how can you put it in a purse? Because women love to carry a snack in their purse.”
It could have stopped there, but this is 2018 and people need to make stuff up to be outraged about.
That Sunday, a British tabloid, The Sun, noticed the comments, reported Lady Doritos as fact, and from there the story spread, through syndication and aggregation, to The New York Post, Business Insider and others. A quick search of Google News showed nearly 900 results for queries about the chip brand and the terms “women,” “female” and “ladies.”
Lady Doritos had become a thing, the proverbial news story that was too good to check.
Then the conversation moved to social media. A post from the website The Daily Wire spurred nearly 10,000 Facebook actions, and blogs like Scary Mommy saw interaction rates in the thousands as well, based on data from CrowdTangle, which measures social media reaction. In total, the CrowdTangle dashboard found nearly 500 Facebook posts by media outlets on Monday about Doritos for women.
…and the reaction was not good.
Despite their efforts to dispel the rumor, #LadyDoritos has secured a place in social media history… or should I say infamy? Either way, I’ll proudly crunch on knowing the rest of this story.