Nestlé UK’s Yorkie Is Not For Girls

I saw my first Yorkie bar (made by Nestlé UK) at Butcher Block, an Irish market in Queens, New York, earlier this year. I found its “Not For Girls” declaration, so clear and deliberate on the packaging, too absurd and hilarious to ignore. I bought one. It was amazing, among the best chocolate I’ve had in my life (and as an Official Chocaholic that’s saying a lot). I quickly became hooked.

Eventually, I got more curious about the advertising campaign, which, as an American, I had not been exposed to. Upon researching it online, I discovered that it was apparently not as much of a joke than I thought it had been.

yorkie2.gif

The £3.5 million “tongue-in-cheek” Yorkie “Not For Girls” campaign was launched on April 1, 2002.

But first, a bit of history.

“Yorkie was launched in 1976 to take on female-targeted brands such as Cadbury’s Dairy Milk and provides a chunkier alternative to the slimmed-down Dairy Milk bars. Consistent early advertising featuring the famous ‘Yorkie Trucker’ had firmly positioning Yorkie as the ‘big and chunky’ chocolate bar for men.(Marketing Communications)

“There is a standard joke over here [in the UK] that before you can get a heavy goods driving licence you have to show you can unwrap and eat a Yorkie one-handed!” (Monica, Nigella.com)

*

“Despite Yorkie having a strong positioning as the masculine bar, the representation of masculinity consumers associated with Yorkie was outdated and thus lacked relevance – the issue of relevance being of critical importance in an impulse-driven category such as countline confectionery. This lack of relevance was translated into declining penetration for the brand.

“Thus, in order to ensure Yorkie’s long-term survival in the highly competitive confectionery market, the brand was required to reassert its masculinity in a way that was appealing and motivating for today’s consumer.

Hence, the campaign. Its objective was “to reclaim Yorkie as the chocolate for men.” Its research revealed “key consumer insights”:

“1. Society is moving towards ‘re-genderization’. Beyond feminism and beyond androgyny, people are examining the different values men and women can bring to a society: ‘Vive la différence’. Men love being men – and women appreciate and/or are amused by the differences. Coupled with this is increasing gender equality. PC boundaries have therefore changed and humour is once again exploring ‘men being men’

“2. The rise of feminism has led to a decreased role for men today. The media are constantly reminding us of the increasing success of women in today’s society. Whether it’s better reading ability of girls at primary school or female graduates now getting better degrees than men, the rise of the woman, particularly to men, seems unstoppable. With women now having the gall even to drink pints (of Guinness!), you have to agree with one respondent who said, ‘There aren’t many things a man can look at and say, “that’s for me”.’(Marketing Communications)

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yorkie-woman.jpgThe tv ads show women attempting to purchase the chunky chocolate bar – but the only way they can do this is by glueing on fake beards, dressing up as builders with hard hats, and swaggering into corner shops asking (in deep, gruff, fake-male voice) for a ‘Yorkie please.’ In one ad, the large, bearded, super-gruff male shopkeeper ‘tests’ the woman to prove she is a man, by quizzing her on stereotypically male questions, thrusting a fake spider in her face to see if she screams, and so on. He finally hands the bar over, but when he tells her th[at] it really highlights the blue in her eyes, she gasps ‘really?’ and he snatches the Yorkie out of her hands and bites off a huge, masculine chunk in one go.”

yorkie-birds.jpg“The Yorkie ads, on tv and posters, used the slogans ‘It’s not for girls’, ‘don’t feed the birds’, ‘not available in pink’ and ‘King size, not Queen size.’ Interestingly, the campaign even affected the design of the bar itself, seemingly intended to literally stop women buying the bar in the real world. The ‘O’ in Yorkie has been altered into a ‘no go’ road sign, with a line cutting through a woman symbol. The bar also has the phrase ‘not for girls’ on it.” (The F-Word: Contemporary UK Feminism)

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In another advertisement, a “four-page Yorkie supplement poked fun at the differences between men and women. The wrap featured a Bill of Male Rights and two definitive lists…”

yorkie-driving.jpgTop Ten Things Women Can’t Do
- Make a decision.
- Watch football without talking.
- Drive in a straight line.
- Use ten words when a hundred will do.
- Open a can unaided.
- Use a urinal.
- Own a pet spider.
- Speak on the phone for less than 15 minutes.
- Understand cricket.
- Buy a Yorkie.”

Top Ten Reasons To Be A Bloke
- One mood – all the time.
- You can go to the bathroom by yourself.
- You get to buy gadgets.
- You don’t have to clean your flat before the cleaner comes.
- Mechanics don’t lie to you.
- You can change a plug.
- Grey hair adds to your sex appeal.
- The first thing you try on in a shop fits you.
- You can read maps.
- You get to eat a Yorkie.” (Metro)

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yorkie-pink.gifA year later, a limited edition (as in for two months) Pink Yorkie- “for girls”- was released. “The launch is to salute those sacred girls who, against their female instinct, can be ‘BLOKEY’ enough to indulge in the UK’s chunkiest chocolate bar!” (Nestle Rowntree)

Another aspect of the campaign: “Yorkie is to be temporarily renamed Blokie(FoodAndDrinkEurope).

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Yorkie teamed up with Metro magazine in a media stunt, in which “50,000 complimentary Yorkie bars were given out to male Metro readers, who were delighted to get a free chunky bar of Yorkie with their regular copy of Metro.

Female readers were politely refused a Yorkie bar by Metro’s promotional staff, who apologised and informed them that ‘It’s Not for Girls!’

“Puzzled looks turned to genuine amusement when female Metro readers saw the ad for Yorkie on the front cover – a big No Women sign alongside Yorkie’s slogan.” (Metro)

*

Not everyone was as “genuinely amused”.

Nestle Rowntree has been banned by a council from handing out Yorkie bars following complaints that its advertising campaign was sexist.

“Representatives from the firm were handing out Yorkies to men only in Liverpool city centre when a female council worker made an official complaint.”

“‘The Yorkie team applied to give samples, but they did not inform us they would only give them to men,’ said a Liverpool City Council spokesman.

“‘We think Yorkie bars should be for girls as well so we asked them if they would mind not discriminating and give them to everyone. They refused and we asked them to leave.’

“Yorkie brand manager Tomas Vesely said: ‘The campaign is meant to be tongue-in-cheek. However it seems Liverpool City Council does not understand this and has banned us.’(Ananova)

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A sticker campaign has proven popular, with the company “distributing a collection of Yorkie ‘not for girls’ stickers within FHM [a men's magazine]. The stickers are designed for objects such TV remote controls, car keys, bottles of lager…etc etc. Apparently they are being widely used :-)

Whilst this time of campaign would probably die elsewhere, us Brits find it bloody funny. Our whole culture revolves around personal attack type banter. This campaign taps into that, to the point that the “not for girls” theme is becoming cult…oh and sales of Yorkie have gone through the roof. :-)(MarketingVOX)

The FHM ad was headlined “Size Matters” and then: “Of course it does – if you’re talking about huge, chunky chocolate bars, and not the rubbishy sex stuff your girlfriend’s been reading about in women’s magazines… So men, it’s time to reclaim what’s rightly ours. Chocolate for a start: we want a man-bar like a Yorkie, not a puny girl-sized thing… Listen girls – that crinkly, papery stuff your bosses give you in return for a week’s ‘work’: it’s for paying bills, buying essential foodstuffs (like a nice Yorkie for your boyfriend – get a friend to help you carry it)…”

A formal complaint was lodged by Advertising Standards Authority (ASA), stating that “the advertisement feature was offensive because its main purpose was to degrade women.

In response, “The advertisers said the campaign was designed to explore and to celebrate gender differences in a tongue-in-cheek way. They said the feature in FHM appeared only in that magazine and was written by FHM staff writers to give it the feel of typical FHM copy and to appeal to their target audience of men between the ages of 18 and 35. They argued that all scenarios described in the feature were extreme, were unlikely to happen in real life and were written with an element of fantasy that was not meant to be taken seriously.(Adjudications)

*

Following are two examples of the feminist community’s response.

“To give another example of the instability within sexism at the moment, we might consider the television advertisements for Yorkie chocolate bars… If this [tv] advert had been shown in the 1980s, the feminist response would have been clear; classifying the product as ‘not for girls’, suggesting that women are not ‘man enough’ to eat large chunks of chocolate would have been seen as sexist. But this advert is playing with stereotypes; the woman is not disguised convincingly as a man; the advertisement ridicules men as much as women, suggesting that men are obsessed with football and sex. So if we laugh at this advert because we think it is ironising sexism, we could be seen to be buying into sexism, i.e. rejecting femininity and valuing masculinity, or if we don’t laugh at the advert and take it as sexist, we could be seen as humourless and unable to see the overt playfulness and critique in the advert.(Third Wave Feminist Linguistics)

“Post feminism has also led to the return of sexism in advertising… on the basis that it is ‘ironic’ because women are no longer oppressed. Possibly the worst example is Yorkie chocolate’s ‘It’s not for girls’ slogan. When you consider that gender stereotypes are still encouraged from a young age… the marketing of a product like chocolate, largely consumed by kids, with such a blatantly oppressive slogan is about as funny as a burning orphanage !” (Sexism: A Dialectical Analysis)

*

Andrew Harrison, Nestlé’s marketing director, has said a few words on the subject.

“Most men these days feel as if the world is changing around them and it has become less and less politically correct to have anything that is only for males.

It used to be that men had some areas of their life that were just for them and that was OK. No one cared and most people recognised that men needed places to be, in a simple sense, men.

“Yorkie feels that this is an important element of men’s happiness and is starting the reclaiming process of making a particular chocolate just for men.” (The Guardian)

“We’re not saying Yorkie is ‘not for girls’ to be offensive but to let the British male know that we are for him alone.

Women Yorkie eaters can switch to an Aero or Little Rolo if they like, Yorkie’s feelings won’t be hurt.(Ananova)

*

Oh yea, did I mention that “sales of the chocolate bar [have] rise[n] by 30 per cent, despite being banned from shops in Birmingham and Liverpool for being too sexist”? (Ananova)

*

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47 responses to “Nestlé UK’s Yorkie Is Not For Girls

  1. LOL im a girl, live in the UK, love yorkies, whoever that women was who made an official complaint, just doesnt hav a sence of humor! HAHA!

    • good on the woman who made a complaint, its not funny, clearly quit a few people are easily amused. Yorkies cant be doing that well excluding women or they would of kept the advertising, which they havent. So clearly yorkie upset too many people and have failed.

      • Dave Pinkerton

        “good on the woman who made a complaint, its not funny, clearly quit a few people are easily amused”

        Clearly quite a few people have a sense of humour and don’t take things too literally or seriously. Others meanwhile have nothing better to do than look to take offence.

        “Yorkies cant be doing that well excluding women or they would of kept the advertising”

        Yorkies seem to be doing well enough with the ‘Man’ theme – their ‘Man fuel, for Man stuff’ ad campaign’s been running for about a year now.

  2. this is just bullshit just coz it says not for girls doesnt mean its true!!!!!!!!!!!

  3. Possibly the best chocolate bar out there! Haha…and buying a Yorkie is funnier with the ‘Not for girls’ sign on it.

  4. Absolutely sick; Yorkie should be banned i they refuse to stop such sexist advertising!

  5. i like troffe

  6. Geraldine, get OVER yourself, you/this is the whole problem with the world today OVERSENSITIVE WOMAN who want their noses in everything. Do you see men protesting against “Woman’s only Day Spas”? Well do you? Give it up, let the men have SOMETHING in this lifetime! The Feminist Movement makes me sick, it’s gone waaaaaaay over the top!!!!! Women who can’t take a joke should just jump from the highest building in their home town. HUMOUR = a LIFE being LIVED!!!! PS: I AM A GIRL! 35 years old and sick to death of the women’s movement!

    • You might want to remember what feminisim got for you before you trash it.

    • Geraldine I agree with you, ignor alexandra. There is nothing funny about it at all. A choclate bar that says women cant eat it, what could be funny about that. it is just simply sexist!!! and actually there is still plently of sexiam in the wold today men being paid more than women and women being looked on as if they are weak, too sensative and incompetent. And by the wa you are a middle ages woman not a girl so stop acting so immature and act your age, for havens sake its people like you alexandre that make women look stupid.
      Yes humor is important in life but clearly you would laugh at anything because there is clearly no humor in this advert at all.

      • Actually it’s women that can’t spell that make women look stupid!

      • Dave Pinkerton

        There’s clearly no telling the difference between sexism and the ludicrousness of the humour for you is there…

  7. Sexism is funny because it is so ridiculous, no one actually believes in those stereotypes. It’s not like a shopkeeper is going to refuse to sell these to females.

    I’ve just tried the new recipe I had the honeycomb edition but I hope they’ve changed the chocolate throughout because it’s the best cheap chocolate I’ve ever tasted.

    I’ll have to make sure it’s not limited edition (or stock up!)

  8. Chocolate is a food which anyone can eat – why try to segment the market. Would a grocer advertise Broccoli for boys and celery for girls? Coke for him, and Pepsi for her? Why try and lose a good half of the market by branding a product along gender lines? Dumb, I think.

  9. Went to the U.K. for a semester. Saw Yorkies in the vending machines. Laughed, bought one, ate it in front of my disapproving guy friends. It’s kind of brilliant how they get men to buy them and then get women to also buy them through reverse psychology.

    Overall B- for taste, A+ for amusing marketing.

  10. Why try and lose a good half of the market by branding a product along gender lines?

  11. your bars are sexist and me and all my friends hate you. what sort of bullshit is that. just becuase were women dosn’t mean we have any less right to eat. you should at least make another brand, a neutral brand of yorkie. You fucking sexist pigs

  12. Sexist ass holes , me and all my friends hate you bastards. We think your bars are sexist where the fuck did you get that bull crap. Girls can eat them if they like. A couple of months ago i bought my daughter a yorkie from the shop shes only small and when she saw what it said she started crying. you fucking sexist ass wipes

    • typical girl, crying

      • Anonymous – shut up she isnt crying she is just standing up for herself. I hope that eating a yorkie makes you feel like a real hard man, something your clearly not because if you were you wouldnt have a problem with women eating chocolate bars and you would think yorkies idea is stupid because u wouldnt need a yorkie to make you feel manly.

  13. Some people really have no sense of humour or understanding of a joke at all. They were not trying to lose half the market – they never were going to, only the odd idiotic fool would think they were being serious and actually NOT buy the bar on sexism grounds, the rest would either carry on as normal or find it funny and remember they like them and buy another. Get a grip all you over-sensitive ladies, it’s not oppression or an attack on women in any way, it’s a joke played around the fact that men and women are different, always have been and always will be, and that the differences are there to be celebrated and are at times amusing.

    • Dave Pinkerton

      Finally, a common sense comment that sees the whole thing for what it is – a laugh. As James says – get a grip (or in the words of the late Michael Winner – “Calm down, dear! It’s only a commercial!”)

  14. great marketing,

    women get a kick in doing the opposite of what they are told especially if its by a man.

    so more women have had Yorkie bars than men

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  16. Ew, its well sexist. But i’m a girl and i’m still gonna eat them, i dont care if there not for us, atall.

    • Sucked in! On behalf of Nestle shareholders, I thank you for your custom. Perhaps our chocolate will take away some of your bitterness.

  17. UK society is going down the shithole thanks to feminism which is no longer about equality but double standards and hypocrisy. Feminists only want equality when it suits.

    Women have a national women’s day, a woman’s history month, they have women’s only swimming sessions, women’s only fitness classes, and the Boy Scouts have been forced to allow girls in (yet girls still have their Girl Guides).

    So give us a break and let us have our Yorkie bar ffs! It appears most women see the funny side and only a small number of feminists are offended anyway.

  18. I praise the women who see the campaign as a joke, and do still buy them, so what if it says “not for girls” you have to be seriously stupid not to buy something because it says “not for girls” on it, like Nestle are going to check on every person who bought one and prosecute any woman who purchased a Yorkie…
    All the time, I see women put higher then men for things they are good at, which is fine. “women have done this, they get these grades, they are better at men at such and such.” but when someone says “Men are better at this..” there is a huge uproar. I blatantly see the equality….oh wait. but you don’t see anyone complaining.
    I completely agree with David.
    Its a Chocolate bar. If you don’t like it. DON’T BUY IT.
    or better yet make a chocolate bar saying “not for boys” I’m pretty sure no lads will actually care.

  19. My ex-girlfriend always love anything that “Not For Girl”, and I guess that’s why I marry her, cheers!

  20. Mmmm Im an Aussie Chick (over 40) and I love the Yorkie bar. The reason why I bought it in the first place is cause it says “not for girls” and I love other English chocs and lollies – so i thought id give it a go! YUM – glad i tried it. Pretty cool slogan i reckon — clever cookies in advertising i say. hahaha. Andrea

  21. As a male feminist, I refuse to buy this product, as its marketing campaign promotes tired and harmful stereotypes of both men and women. It’s all-around patronising, and about as funny as a sammitch joke.

    Sadly, a number of women I know buy them out of a misplaced sense of defiance. Successful reverse psychology, I guess.

  22. Muahaha, loving the comments! I’m currently in the UK and when I first discovered Yorkies, I was a bit irritated by the slogan, yet I also found it somehow funny. whether it is sexist or not… I don’t know. Where I come from, they have a proverb, which can be translated like: “It is humour if you laugh anyway.” (sounds strange in English! lol)
    Haven’t had Yorkie so far… but now I’m really in the mood to buy one! :D

  23. I’m a woman in California.
    I ate a Yorkie today.
    Face stubble in FIVE MINUTES!
    Curse… you… Yorkie!

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  25. I stopped buying it. There’s plenty of other chocolate bars on the market. Now they have removed ‘Not for Girls’ I can buy it again.

  26. This forum makes me laugh. It’s a chocolate bar… get a life.

  27. I’m a feminist and i haven’t felt offended by Yorkie at the end of the day chocolates chocolate i tend to have a lot of willpower when it comes to food anyway especially chocolate besides i have met men who aren’t fond of chocolate anyway and my brother wasn’t keen on chocolate.

    I tried the first Yorkie bar and didn’t like it too bulky i agreed it wasn’t for girls back then but now i tried the new 100g bar and i must say the chocolate quality is excellent its the best chocolate to come out of nestle.

    Also as a feminist i would like to say that Yorkie has the slogan its not for girls because they wanted to compete with Cadbury’s which is predominantly for female customers and so they wanted to create something just for men so there you have it a perfect answer.

  28. Are you okay Raquel you seem angry with men today don’t get upset i hope i have helped.

  29. David now you are the one who needs a sense of humour you sound so envious of women how low can you possibly go mate.
    Us men have had power over everything since time began and no one will ever stand in your way and your own career ambitions you will out earn most women in your entire lifetime you can become anything you want and you are still acting ungrateful you’re full of shite yourself mate ladies has suffered for centuries and its only this century that men may be at a little disadvantage but it nothing compared to how you make women feel when you go to your boys clubs watching strippers, sleeping with prostitutes like you’re entitled to it sleeping around all the time cheating on girlfriends treating women like a trophy or otherwise like shite and as completely worthless whores that are after your money don’t tell me your innocent and the underprivileged here there are still single mothers walking around on their own because the dad doesn’t want to contribute anything besides call her stupid or a gold digger and he doesn’t even know his own kids.
    Most men are treated well and respected in nearly every culture across the globe and this is a fact and you know it is and have been able to live a privileged life if they work for it for women its an entire ballgame.
    I don’t other men like you David you’re that same man that asks stupid questions like ”Who’s better a boy or a girl?” when it doesn’t matter.
    How unprofessional are you saying feminism has ruined the U.K. how can you blame feminism for problems i bet you prefer to see women broke on the streets barely being able to afford their babies and there’s you sitting in your big fancy car from your higher then women wages slagging of women you must be a realist who by the way are not known for their sense of humours you keep it real.

  30. groundhogman

    W.T.F. purple shoes,talk for yourself.If that is what you think life is like your mistaken.you may go with prostitutes or shag about or have a good paying job,but most of us men don’t.Yes women do go to see strippers,sleep with prostitutes,sleep around and parade us as a trophy playing us against each other.Just because men are label d for doing things it does not mean women do not.
    People still have a choice of what they can do male or female.Too many people want to judge when there not perfect,nobody is including me.Too many people complain for the wrong reasons.
    Keep it up folks,in a few years you will have no rites at all,as with all the whining that goes on.
    A man might use something that is said to be for women i.e. moisturiser,or make up,and yes a lot do. The same with women,they will use things that are for men i.e. aftershave or deodorant.,no complaints on theses things though.
    One does not have to buy or use things they do not want to,so stop trying to tell each other what to do saying its sexist.

    As time goes on you will look back saying about the good old times when you had a choice,but if things carry on as they are the only choice will be the one your given as it will be dictated in some law .

    So women and men eat your yorkie with pride as you still have that choice.

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  32. This is so pathetic it makes my insides bleed from laughing! It’s just a joke Ladies! We’re not saying you can’t vote anymore! So start laughing and eat a damned Yorkie!

  33. Dave Pinkerton

    The very first comment made on this post was back on January 5, 2008. It was probably the best comment of the lot here and it should have ended there. It’s a joke.

  34. Wow, so many women commenting here. Must’ve finally figured out how to put a computers in kitchens.

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