A manly mealThe latest Real McCoy’s branding wheeze is “MAN CRISPS”. “McCoy’s are unashamedly for men.” says the brand director (who is A WOMAN), “We want to celebrate all that’s great about them, by giving them a crisp they deserve and can share with their mates when they’re enjoying being blokey.” Supporting this push are various NO NONSENSE flavours like “Cheese and bacon”, and an ad campaign in which McCoys are removed from men who are expressing an interest in the UNMANLY likes of Donny Osmond and ballet.

When I mentioned this to my fellow MAN LOLLARDS the other week the response was “But all crisps are for men”. Even if that’s the case there’s definitely a move on to make men buy more snacks. Advertising wisdom seems to be that REAL MEN do not respond to poncey concepts like subtlety, so KPs new peanuts range FOR MEN rejoices in the name “BIG NUTS”.

KP and McCoys are not alone: Burger King and Yorkie have also joined the man appeal bandwagon – or MANDWAGON. The educated reader – even if they are a PROPER BLOKE – may well have noticed a thematic link between the products getting in on this. They are all, essentially, bad for you. The broader context of this BIT OF FUN is the fact that the average British consumer is more concerned about health issues than ever before, and sales of stuff like crisps, chocolate and burgers are being hit accordingly. Marketing people have obviously noticed this, and what’s going on is an attempt to persuade men that eating complete shite is an essential part of male identity. My guess is that the healthy eating trend is more driven by female consumers and so the companies selling unhealthy food are trying to shore up their core market by stressing the very things that might turn non-core buyers off (a bit like when the Tories picked Iain Duncan Smith as a leader).

This is a bit cynical and irresponsible, but contrary to the increasing sanctimony of public statements by food producers, most of them aren’t actually that bothered about yr physical well-being (gasp!). How to counter it? Maybe the government could rebrand fruit and vegetables FOR MEN. Starting, obviously, with plums.