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'Male chauvinist' mustard ads spark controversy

'Male chauvinist' mustard ads spark controversy

Published: 25 Jul 2011 15:10 GMT+02:00
Updated: 25 Jul 2011 15:10 GMT+02:00

Provocative adverts for a brand of mustard have prompted an outraged reaction from Swedish consumers, with some criticising the campaign for being "chauvinist".

Johnny's Senap, a mustard brand sold by Druvan, is being marketed through the campaign "Real men grill" (literally: "Riktiga män grillar"), with ads bearing messages such as "Real men don't sew their own clothes" and "Real men don't wear deodorant".

The campaign's theme has sparked a strong reaction, with scores of incensed comments appearing on on the mustard's official Facebook page, criticising the controversial campaign as "chauvinist", and renouncing Druvan's products.

According to Druvan's marketing director Kristina Ljungkvist, however, directing their ads towards men was a conscious choice.

"Our target group has always been men, and I think that's one of the factors behind our success; that we actually dare to direct ourselves to men. All other retail businesses are directed to women," Ljungkvist explained to the Dagens Media newspaper.

This goal seems to have missed the mark somewhat, as many offended men are among those criticising the commercials.

"Real men don't try to use cooking products or grilling as proof of their own self esteem, and can eat whatever the hell they like," wrote one male commenter on Johnny's Facebook page.

Another asks, "So, women aren't allowed to grill?"

Ljungkvist tells Dagens Media that although the company has received criticism from some directions, she has also received several comments praising and defending the campaign.

"All I can say is that in my profession as a marketer, it's hard to please everybody."

She believes that the controversial campaign will result in good publicity for Druvan.

"We're a small company, and need to do something tongue in cheek to get some attention," she explained.

According to Ljungkvist, Druvan have not been discouraged from continuing to produce similar advertisement campaigns in the future, and cites both 1950's style and classic advertisements for Swedish beer Norrlands Guld, centred around a stereotypical northerner, as inspiration for Druvan's advertisements.

"We're going to keep doing stuff that's in Johnny's spirit. We see him as kind of cool and retro. Someone who dares to be himself."

The Local's attempts to contact Druvan on Monday for a comment were unsuccessful.

Clara Guibourg (clarabara@hotmail.com)

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Your comments about this article

15:55 July 25, 2011 by HYBRED
Real men DO grill. Except Swedish men are missing a gene or two that allows them to do it well.
16:16 July 25, 2011 by zooeden
And NO, women aren´t allow to grill!!!!

Lesbians aren´t allow either!!!!

Gay guys are allow!!!

Doggie Bags are also allow!!!
16:55 July 25, 2011 by JohnAndersson
I have already written Johnny's to let them know I binned my products I own by them and will never buy their products in the future. Shame on them.
17:12 July 25, 2011 by Swedesmith
Real men don't throw away food.
17:17 July 25, 2011 by plswun
Is this serious?? dont people have anything better to do?? its like everything in existance is scrutinized and judged as sexist. i asked my wife if anybody has notices that the volvo logo contains the male sex sign (the circle with the arrow) and why there isnt some kind of uproar over it.

how about this....lets shorten the hight of a basketball goal to women can dunk like men. its just not fair the basket is so high! or, lets outlaw high heels. its not fair that women have the option to wear them. its so sexist to provide a woman with the option to buy them! this is rediculous. they should be able to market their product to whomever they want.

i think tomorrow im gonna wake up and protest outside of an HM because the womans sections are waaaaay bigger than the mens section. whos with me??
17:21 July 25, 2011 by muscle
@plswun: I AGREE WITH THE H&M thing! Seriously.... sometimes i keep trying to figure out where the hell the men clothes are located!!!!

Its wrong!!!!! and you know... when you go there with your girl friend.. and she has to try just ALLLLLLL the clothes which are visible throughout the store, THESE STORES MAKE YOU WAIT AND GET BORED, for hell length of time!
17:35 July 25, 2011 by dan_sparrow
Damm they wanna take the only thing we got left in the kitchen OUR MUSTARD!!!

we should support johnny cuz this is going to far...

1st freedom, then to vote, to drive and now the mustard? whats next???

AXE for women? gillette razors for the face? ( some actually need to shave the mustache)
17:57 July 25, 2011 by Streja
It's nice to read so many desperate men's foolish comments. It's funny how they take offense.
18:05 July 25, 2011 by plswun
no...its not taking offense. its just asking....is it really that serious that they want to focus their maketing on towards men?? the way u jump to a conclusion makes u sound like a feminist.

word of advice....as a man, or woman, choose your battles. taking on this kind of fight shows just how rediculous this feminism thing in sweden has become. and when it does get this rediculous, nobody wants to deal with you. im all for equality but geez!
18:30 July 25, 2011 by McChatter
Bring back the hookers! That way there'd be less griping on this site.
18:37 July 25, 2011 by Streja
I'm a feminist and proud of it.

The men got upset, not the women. Read the article. I suppose that real men don't feel that they are being targetted if they claim that they are not allowed to glaze carrots.
18:55 July 25, 2011 by plswun
its a simple mustard ad. i dont think any men are upset. they just see how rediculous this is. on the other hand, YOU jump to such conclusion as calling the men who commented foolish and desparate. you are perfect proof that the fight for equality and feminism are two different subjects. answer me this....why would you claim to be a feminist over claiming to be Egalitarianist??

gooooooood question! feminism IS NOT an effort in the struggle for equality.

Egalitarianism is. google it if u have to.
20:04 July 25, 2011 by irridium
"real men don't wear deodorant"

-they do if they want a real girl...lol
20:15 July 25, 2011 by dan_sparrow
hahahaha anyway its just a ridiculous advertising... people is taking it too serious...
20:55 July 25, 2011 by jamesblish
Come on, people. Don't fall for this. Yet another attempt from the Local at stirring up some "swedish men are pussys" comments. No one is mad over this ad. It's merely a question of a few people commenting on a facebook page. It's not a big deal, it's no deal at all actually. Come on, we're all bigger than this. Ignore.
23:11 July 25, 2011 by swede_in_usa
I am a Swedish man married to an American woman. She is proud of being a woman and takes great pride in cooking great meals, raising the kids, supporting her husband while he is away being responsible for paying the bills. Why can't men like cars and women like dresses? Is it that bad?
04:15 July 26, 2011 by Marc the Texan
Man, listen to these wussies whine. Real men grill. That's just a fact of life. If you don't like it then back away from the grill.
06:01 July 26, 2011 by Da Goat
I think this is an excellent ad campaign sorts the men from the woosies, Druvan have hit a winner and the more pansies that complain the more sucessful it will be 10/10 Johnny
09:54 July 26, 2011 by reason
The amusement to be derived from a joke of this sort comes from the knowledge that some people will take it seriously. The "yes, that is true" people are no less funny than the "that's horrible! they shouldn't be allowed to do that" people. To all of you, thank you for being amusing.

Real men don't take themselves too seriously.
09:58 July 26, 2011 by Åskar
@reason, I very much like your comment which is totally in rapport with your handle.
10:53 July 26, 2011 by BrittInSweden
Real men don't bitch like a woman over an advert for mustard.

I know Swedish men are dominated by the women but come on guys... grow a pair and stop getting offended by a harmless advert.
11:24 July 26, 2011 by cogito
II'm throwing out my Grey Poupon dijon and going out to buy Johnny's.

It's a brilliant ad.
14:28 July 26, 2011 by Kikiek
They state the ad is to highlight someone who dares to be himself. Yet the message is to men if they don't grill they aren't "real men". Mind games and mixed messages. I am happy to hear Sweden isn't falling for it.
15:32 July 26, 2011 by PonceDeLeon
Women in Sweden should stick to mowing the lawn, and leave the grill to the men... No surprise Father's day is celebrated in November, here. You just don't get "it"!... Do you?
15:51 July 26, 2011 by Carbarrister
Real men and women for that matter have a sense of humor.

Get over it.
16:53 July 26, 2011 by HYBRED
After growing up with the unsweetened American mustard, mustard in Sweden is somewhat hard to get down. Although there are some here that are doable. But Citygross has the american brand, so not a huge issue.
09:00 July 27, 2011 by nolikegohome
ok now lets look at this in another way. what if the ad said (real women grill) i do not believe the men would even bother about it. Perhaps they would not even bother to care or try to understand it. For me a woman or a man or a dog can grill who gives a tiff?
15:24 July 27, 2011 by Streja
nolikegohome, well for one thing grilling has traditionally been seen as a male so if a woman had been in the ad saying only real women grill it would have been a funny ad or possibly a modern one. As it is now it's just silly and not worth getting offended or upset about.
15:55 July 27, 2011 by HYBRED
While the real man is grilling, the real woman is keeping him supplied with ice cold beer.
20:37 July 27, 2011 by dan_sparrow
i got the point after all

real men can grill...what about the swedish ones?
03:10 July 28, 2011 by Sheba
who cares...feminism is so outdated....just support ya patner....eller hur...
05:41 July 28, 2011 by Fishkiller
I love the ads, but real men do wear deodorant.

What Sheba said covers everything without over complicating it or being verbose.
17:40 July 29, 2011 by tadchem
Real men don't whinge about 'chauvinism,' nor do women who know and love real men.
19:44 July 29, 2011 by Bisting
Great!!!! I will go out and buy Johnny's mustard, I like men who grill, because that means I don't have to. And yes, real swedish men know how to grill, my brothers and nephews are great at it better than their wifes. So women, stop complaining and get a chuckle out of it, providing you have a sense of humour.

And yes I am a woman!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
16:32 August 17, 2011 by GreenEyednonSwede
Real men don't use deodorant because real men shower on a regular basis ...
11:49 August 20, 2011 by Imperor
So shaving your armpits makes you more of a man? (Less need for deo, only old sweat smell).
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