Image of Stacy's Women's History Month packaging
Product Design Faculty Member Jerry Jankowski Gives His Thoughts

By Robert Klara

Women’s History Month kicks off today and, while the annual commemoration started in 1987, this year’s observance—coming as it does in the wake of #MeToo—is especially pressing and consequential. It follows that brands planning tie-ins to the event can expect to be under greater scrutiny than usual. So it’s a good bet that heads will turn with the unveiling of “Rising to the Occasion,” a just-announced activation from PepsiCo-owned Stacy’s Pita Chips that includes a limited-edition series of special packaging.

Developed in-house by female designers, the three bags are meant to symbolize the triad of “core values” behind the brand, to wit: celebrating, supporting and advancing women. (Stacy’s was founded in 1997 by Boston social worker-turned-restaurateur Stacy Madison; PepsiCo bought the brand in 2005.)

Heavy on shades of pink and adorned motifs including lions and rouged mouths, the bags—which can be purchased online—arrived at Adweek’s office with the following explanation from the press office: “The mouths represent how women are speaking out to celebrate each other, the lion illustrates women’s ferocious tenacity to advance the equality movement, and the single word unstoppable underscores how far women can go when they support each other.”

So there you have it. And to augment its promotion, PepsiCo will make a monetary donation to Step Up, a mentorship and empowerment program for girls. Still, the question is: Will consumers favor these chip bag designs—which include the liberal use of language like “Roar” (presumably as in, “I am woman, hear me roar”) and “We’ve got this”—the way that corporate hopes? Are these themes familiar and meaningful, or just tired and clichéd?

We approached five prominent designers, all of whom have worked on packaging and related marketing materials for brands, and asked them to weigh in.

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