Gender-Targeted Packaging: 10 Packages Designed to Appeal to Men or Women

We all know that a product’s packaging is its first (and often best) marketing tool. Have you noticed that marketers are now finding ways to communicate that products are aimed at either men or women? Using packaging alone – color, imagery, shape, and in-pack premiums – and without even having to say so, brands are growing wallet share by making it obvious that products are targeted to either males or females.

I find this concept to be fascinating and fun, so I’ve put together some examples of products that have effectively used packaging to draw in gender-specific audiences.

1) Dr. Pepper TEN:

The first example on my list is Dr. Pepper TEN. In the fall of 2011, Dr. Pepper announced the newest addition to its beverage line: “Dr. Pepper TEN,” a variation of Dr. Pepper specially concocted for men only! Studies showed that men want to be more health conscious but diet beverages, often associated with women, were not very appealing to them – understandable.

Not only did Dr. Pepper formulate a beverage with only 10 calories that kept the same delicious taste of the original Dr. Pepper, but they also re-designed its packaging to appeal to men. The color of the label is an industrial gunmetal grey color, perfectly suited to catch the eye of a male. According to an article in Packaging Digest, six test markets were lucky enough to get a tasty preview off Dr Pepper TEN early on in 2011. To support the new product, Dr. Pepper also launched an integrated marketing campaign that included TV commercials, radio plugs, and both in-store and out-of-home advertising, each vehicle promoting a manly “not for women” message.

The results from the test markets proved to more than exceed expectations. Dr. Pepper TEN raked in around 6% of total Dr. Pepper sales throughout the test period. By targeting “men only,” Dr. Pepper TEN became a fan favorite and is now available nationwide!

2) Diet Coke – For Women

Diet Coke recently (Jan 9) launched a new marketing campaign in Europe to target the female demographic. As of now the female designed Diet Coke is on sale in the UK and expected to debut in 7 other countries in the near future. The can designs are described as “glamorous” and judging by the photo we have seen – we agree! There is a profile shot of a women’s face with designs such a zebra print and flowers. Personally, I love these cans and even though I don’t drink soda I would be inclined to purchase the cans because they are cute! In terms of packaging design, who do you think has done a better job of appealing to their demographic? Dr. Pepper or Diet coke?

3) Chick Beer:

Every woman has a soft spot for pink! Imagine walking down the aisle at the store and seeing a pleasantly-pink 6-pack of beer. Ladies, it would catch your eye – wouldn’t it? The creators of Chick Beer had always been looking for that 6 pack that would catch their eye. When they realized they wouldn’t find it they took it upon themselves to make it!

The tag line “Finally, a beer for women” is a sigh of relief for woman around the US since, according to Chick Beer’s website, they are responsible for 25% (equal to 700 million cases) of beer consumption in the nation each year. With so many different choices out there for beer, sometimes it is hard for women to find one that suits what they want, which is (most of the time): low-calorie, light, designed for a woman’s palate, etc. With labels and packaging that stand out (the 6 pack actually looks like a purse – how cute!)  Chick Beer ensures that women won’t have to look far!

Check out this video of Chick Beer on CBS News! http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QQbfw3s4TRM

4) Yorkie:

“It’s Not For Girls!” is the statement in bold on the front wrapper of this British chocolate bar.  In Britain, Nestle manufactured its Yorkie chocolate bar conveying the simple message that it is made for men only. The packaging itself isn’t just designed to appeal to men – it actually goes so far as to discourage women from buying it. The back side of the wrapper states “don’t feed the birds!” (For yankees: “birds” is British slang for a girl or woman).

What do you think about this “Men Only” candy bar? Do you think it is all in good fun? Or going a little too far? This candy bar has been on the market for nearly a decade now. It received some flack for gender stereotyping when it initially launched, but Nestle didn’t give in to critics.

5) Sassy Bitch Wine:

In most cases women don’t necessarily prefer to be called a “sassy bitch” but that doesn’t mean we’re opposed to drinking a wine by that name.

This line of wines geared toward women puts a fun twist on all the different aspects of sass in each wine. From Chardonnay to Merlot each wine description gives women something to relate to – it’s fun. You can’t miss the bright pink label with a woman in sling back heels, as a woman it makes you want to look at the bottle and probably want to take it home to try or gift to a friend. To us, this is a great example of marketing geared toward women and we thank Sassy Bitch Wines for it – it’s delicious!

6) Unilever Beauty Products for Men and Women: Dove and Axe

When you think of “shower gel” you used to think of women, but now it is becoming a product that is being marketed to both genders. We’ve seen an array of men’s body wash and hair care products developed over the past 5 years or so. Unilever has an array of personal care product lines that have mastered gender packaging. Two of their brands, Dove and Axe, have done a great job at creating packaging that sticks out to men and women – separately.

Axe has branded itself as a male-only product. The colors, shapes, and designs of their packaging catch men’s eyes, and without even having to read a label women know to steer clear. The most interesting part of this product packaging is that it doesn’t say “for men” or “men only” on the label – the colors and imagery says it all. Seriously, their shower gel bottle looks like it could easily be found in the motor oil section of a car store.

Personally, I have always seen Dove as a female-oriented brand. But now they have a whole line of body wash and personal care products directed toward men. They have mastered how to differentiate male and female products though: the male products display masculine colors such as a solid gray container with blue, red, orange or green accent colors. The female products are much softer with hues of pink and purple. Dove clearly differentiates the two product lines so there is no confusion.

7) Pinky Vodka

This beautiful blush colored vodka is surely a head-turner for women in the liquor store. Fittingly named “Pinky Vodka,” their website describes the brand as “the world’s most beautiful vodka.” Nothing on the label states that it is made for women to enjoy, but its feminine color, script-style logo font, and simple black label are surely cut out for the female market. This is also a Beverage Testing Institute gold medal award winning vodka which proves it has more than good looks! A big thank you to our good friend and packaging go-to-girl @PackagingDiva for sharing this fabulous piece of packaging with us from her packaging blog posts!

8.) OFF Clip On

OFF is known for its line of bug repellents and not generally known for making them specialized for either gender. But when OFF created Clip On, a portable repellent that you can clip onto the waistline of your pants or wherever else you choose, they developed two different packages to market it separately to women and men. One version of their packaging, marketed towards men, has predominately blue coloring and images of a man who seems to be fishing, camping, or hunting. Given the packaging, one would think that this product was made for outdoors-men, wouldn’t you think?

But OFF also had another version of the packaging, mostly orange in color and showing a woman out for a stroll or run.

I wonder which one was the more successful of the two? OFF, care to tell us?

9) Snow Queen:

Vodka fit for a queen! Snow Queen Vodka easily captivates all of us fairytale-loving women. The image of a queen hovering above her golden castle on the front of the bottle promises a royal experience for the customer.  There is something about royalty that is appealing –  look at the royal wedding this past spring, we were all captivated and enchanted. And, let’s admit it ladies, we all see ourselves as a queen in some way (don’t we?) and I’m sure our significant others do too. I wouldn’t be surprised if this was a gift given by that special someone in our lives for their queen :) (wishful thinking?)

10) Tequila Rose:

Strawberry cream liqueur with a splash of tequila – yum! Sounds good doesn’t it? But perhaps not for the male palate. I think Tequila Rose has women written all over it – women love roses first of all and second their pink, black and white label is beautiful, flirty, and eye catching. They did a great job of branding their product. And ladies, even if you weren’t sold in the store, one look at their website and the word “yummy” will come right out of your mouth – chocolate-rimmed martini glass, strawberries, and PINK.

So now we ask you …

  • What are your thoughts on gender packaging? Do you dislike being singled-out or stereotyped? Or do you enjoy brands that devote themselves especially to you?
  • What is your favorite form of male/female targeted packaging?
  • Which brand is best at this form of marketing?
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2 Responses to Gender-Targeted Packaging: 10 Packages Designed to Appeal to Men or Women

  1. Easy Labeler says:

    Targeted traffic is a must in today business climate. There are a huge number of choices in today’s market. If you sell on the internet you need to put your product in front of the people who are willing and ready to buy. I think gender is the most basic demographic category. Not only do I not mind being singled out i enjoy it, especially with humor.

  2. kginter says:

    Thank you so much for your insight! I love the last line of your comment, “Not only do I not mind being singled out i enjoy it, especially with humor.” – I agree 100%. I think it makes it fun and it’s cool to know there is a product “just for women” or vice-versa! And, from a marketing stand point it is a great selling tool!

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