Sultry Sally chips - is this advertising sexist or nostalgic?
I happened across this display at a local Foodworks and I was immediately horrified. I really don’t want to see a picture of a sexy girl on my chips, thank you very much. There’s absolutely no need for her to be right there, on the packaging - it’s gratuitous and a step back to 1950s (and earlier!) advertising techniques. She has nothing to do with anything vaguely carbohydrate- or sodium-related, except for the fact that her name ‘Sultry’ has a distinct phonetic similarity to ‘salty’.
The chips themselves claim to be low in fat. In fact in 2009 the company launched an even lower fat version, because the company’s target market is “primarily women who often skip meals as they juggle families and careers. Now they can reach for a snack which is tasty and guilt free.”
Something doesn’t add up here - the target market is women? Seeking a low-fat snack option? I’m technically in that target market and when I saw the packaging I hardly noticed the ‘LOW FAT’ and ‘97% FAT FREE’ claims. Sure - at closer inspection I see that they’re there. But the illustration of Sultry Sally, in her 1950s pin-up doll get-up, is the primary focus - and the primary reason why I wouldn’t buy these chips.
Sex sells, it’s a fact. But I’m curious as to why this technique is being used here, where a product’s target audience is women. Are they supposed to aspire to be her? Will their consumption of these low-fat chips lead to a bodily transformation? Will their husbands be buying the chips for them, blinded by pure animalistic impulse? Does the 1950s-style illustration + fashion hark back to a ‘better time’ where chips were ‘good for you’? It’s not entirely clear.
My opinions about sexist advertising aside, I feel that this campaign hasn’t worked. Sultry Sally chips aren’t exactly a household name like Smiths or Kettle. Using sex to try to sell to a female target audience may not have been the best strategy, as it crowds out the benefits that might have had resonance with a female market.