Manly mustard ads leave bad taste

A Swedish mustard company has been slammed for being chauvinist after releasing an advertising campaign about what constitutes a ‘real man’.

Johnny’s Senap mustard, made by the Druvan company, is being marketed with retro, pop-art style posters bearing the messages: ‘Real men don’t sew their own clothes’, ‘Real men don’t wear deodorant’ and ‘Real men grill’.

The campaign, which features 1950s rocker character Johnny has caused some offence, with many Swedish women taking to ‘Johnny’s’ official Facebook page to renounce Druvan’s products and call the ads “chauvinist”.

Kristina Ljungkvist, the company’s marketing director, is unconcerned, however, claiming the product is aimed specifically at men. “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,” she told to the Dagens Media newspaper.

However, even some men have expressed a dislike for the commercials, with one commenting: “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”, and another asking, “So, women aren’t allowed to grill?”

Druvan are sticking with the theory that all publicity is good publicity, with Ljungkvist adding, “All I can say is that in my profession as a marketer, it’s hard to please everybody. We’re a small company, and need to do something tongue in cheek to get some attention.”

The inspiration for the posters was apparently taken from the classic adverts for Norrlands Guld beer, which depicts a stereotypical northern Swede. “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,” Ljungkvist told Dagens Media.