Follow TV Tropes


Pink Product Ploy

Go To
Shrink it and pink it.

"That's right — pink guns. If you're a woman who's put off by the macho violence of guns, maybe you'd change your mind if they were pink."

Simply put, coloring a product pink on the assumption that doing so will make women more likely to buy it.

Products made for women, especially girls, are often pink. Whether it's toys, clothes, school supplies, phones, backpacks, etc., if it is meant for girls or women, it will likely be pink. Traditionally, men never buy them. This is common in Real Life, but probably started in works. This is also to get women to buy products traditionally used only by men.

For stuff in works, this accounts mainly for The Merch, but can cover things In-Universe (especially when lampshading or discussing this).

Many people these days find this almost insulting, as if the color of the product is the sole turn off from women buying it, implying they can be that shallow. And it doesn't work in all cases. There are, however, some people who do buy pink products because they are pink (if you like pink, and pink is an option, then why not get the pink one), and some individuals and organizations have attempted to make the pink-female association an Appropriated Appellation. Be proud to be a woman — use the pink folding multitool with rhinestones! (Yes, that product existed.) Some women with hobbies involving hand tools (such as jewelry making) and men in the house can also find that pink, floral, or other "girly" appearance can help discourage tool theft by men.

It has also been observed that products targeting women are often slightly more expensive than similar products targeting men, usually due either to production changes required to make the products appeal to females, or the belief that women are more willing to pay more for certain categories of products than men. Unsurprisingly, this phenomenon has been dubbed the "pink tax".

A Sub-Trope of Pink Means Feminine and Men Are Generic, Women Are Special.

Compare Clarke's Law for Girls' Toys. See also Girly Bruiser, Tomboy with a Girly Streak, and Magical Girl Warrior for in-universe characters who might proudly wield a hot pink warhammer, Wrench Wench for a character who might Squee over the page image, and Real Men Wear Pink for a guy who might do the same.


    open/close all folders 

    As An Advertising Trope 

Comic Books

  • A good chunk of Supergirl clothing and Halloween costumes come in pink. You'll also see the "S" in pink on random merchandise marketed as the "Supergirl" logo, even though in the comics she wears the same colors as Superman: red, blue and yellow. Sometimes white as well, but never pink.
  • Something similar happens with Spider-Girl Halloween costumes. One particular offender was not only pink, but came with a mini-skirt. In the actual comics, May's costume is pretty much the same as her father's, the only difference being a larger spider emblem on the front.


  • In response to indelicate remarks made by then-candidate Donald Trump, millions of women took to the streets wearing knitted caps that suggested cat ears and were, of course, extremely pink. (It was considered perfectly acceptable for male allies to wear these hats as well.)
  • Used extensively by Italian children's footwear brand Lelli Kelly, and it shows with their website and advertising, to the point of utter derision and ridicule, especially by boys in the UK who were subjected to this on children's television channels.
  • Women Airforce Service Pilots (WASPs) wore brown leather or blue cloth battle jackets. In the gift shop at the Pearl Harbor National Memorial, replica WASP jackets for girls come only in pink.
  • Subverted with Victoria’s Secret brand “Pink”. Despite the name, very few of the products are actually colored pink. Many of these items are neutral colored or black with the WORDS pink printed on them.


  • Many sports teams have pink versions of their outfits, despite it not being a team color.
    • There are pink versions of NFL gear for all teams, when no NFL team has pink as a color otherwise. These are specifically marketed to female fans. The general perception, though, is that the casual and borderline female fans tend to gravitate toward the pink gear, while die-hard female fans prefer authentic team colors, and the more aggressive die-hards may even mock the pink-wearers for not being "true fans".
      • The NFL, of course, is all too happy in recent years to sell pink merch in October for breast cancer awareness, and to have all their teams wear pink accessories (though not as part of the uniform proper). Pinktober in the NFL has somewhat cycled down a little bit, though, as teams no longer have to accessorize in pink for the entire month.
    • Pink gear has appeared for Major League Baseball as well.
    • Licensed Red Sox caps were only introduced in pink after the team started winning the World Series again. There was an unfortunate backlash from "true fans", who saw anyone who wore them as "fans-come-lately" or more commonly, "Pink Hats". (The theory being that if you hadn't suffered through the Sox's 86-year losing streak, you didn't deserve to wear the hat.) The Patriots got in on the trend as well and since it began after they started winning Super Bowls, it was also met with derision from hardcore fans and sports writers.
    • Minor-league teams will go all-out pink, whether for breast cancer awareness, or simply for Valentine's Day or Mother's Day if the team plays on those holidays. Naturally, the appropriate merch is available at the team's pro shop.
    • NCAA teams are also more likely to get the full pink-out effect, due to Nike, Adidas, and Under Armour encouraging schools to wear more and more uniform variations, each more outlandish than the last, and school programs wanting to get in on supporting breast cancer awareness (among other causes). And yep, you can buy that merch too.
  • In 2016, Wisconsin became the first state to legalize "blaze pink" gear for hunting, in the hope that it would attract more women to the sport. Several other states have since followed suit.

Tabletop Games

  • There are pink Board Games that are otherwise the same as their standard counterparts. These are often board games that classically were gender-neutral for generations.
  • Cards Against Humanity released a "For Her" edition of its base game in 2017 to support a U.S. political organization backing female pro-choice candidates. The only difference was that it was $5 more expensive, and the box was pink.


  • Barbie not only has plenty of pink clothes, but Mattel also has a trademark on the shade "Barbie Pink" (#FB46A3). Although many products of this trope try to get as close to that color as they can.
  • The Disney Princess merchandise is usually pink on the packages, and the line logo is pink.
  • The toys for My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic include a lot more pink on the ponies than is actually in the show (most infamously on Princess Celestia, although a properly-colored white version of her toy was eventually released). Word of God is that this was done to appease the retail buyers, who explicitly stated that the color influenced their purchase quantities.
    • This may be increasingly averted, however, as Hasbro becomes more aware of the show's large Periphery Demographic. One pack of fan-favorite characters from the show (including the Big Bad Nightmare Moon, popular Villain Of The Week Trixie, and Ensemble Dark Horse DJ PON3) stands out in The Pink Aisle with its dark blue and maroon color scheme, and the San Diego Comic Con exclusive of Ascended Meme Derpy featured no pink whatsoever on its box — not even in the My Little Pony logo.
    • On the other hand, this trope is in full swing with Pinkie Pie; all advertising features her heavily and she gets the most merchandise, to the point that you would think that she was the main characternote . This goes all the way back to G3 (though she was at least the leader in G3.) From 2003 onward, Pinkie Pie is the franchise's mascot, the center of all the advertising. If it's not Pinkie Pie, it's probably Fluttershy, with her pink mane and overall pastel theme. Princess Luna toys sometimes add pink to her mane, even though it's been consistently blue with no additional colors within the show and promotional art. Also, the debut of the accurately-colored Celestia coincides with the arrival of pink Princess Cadence, who has two toy lines centered around her despite not appearing more than twice per season. The symbol for the Crystal Empire line is a picture of Cadence's face. Rumor has it that the reason Princess Cadence was introduced in the show was so Hasbro could have a pink pony princess toy to appease retailers, allowing them to make a show-accurate white Celestia.
  • Most Sanrio Hello Kitty products sold in the West have lots of pink, and so the color is tied to the line in America. In Japan, despite this trope still being in effect, Hello Kitty may come in all sorts of colors and designs. Sanrio's Little Twin Stars is much more likely to have lots of pink.
  • Bucking the trend is an old ad from 1981 which surfaced on Huffington Post not too long ago: a little girl in overalls holding a complicated LEGO structure — traditional colors, not pink and not "made for girls". The ad copy talks about "younger children" who "build for fun." Not just "girls" who build but children in general. In later years, though, LEGO did fall in the "pink = girls" trap as can be seen in the Paradisa (a Town subtheme active 1992-97) and Scala (the second version of 1997-2001 which was a Barbie clone) themes. The Belville (1994-2008) and Friends (2012-present) themes do try to use colors other than pink but usually stick to more "girly" colors instead of the primary colors used by other themes and are still blatantly designed to appeal to girls, which Friends in particular was heavily criticized for.
  • Ferrero now has released a version of their Kinder Surprise chocolate eggs which is explicitly intended to be for girls. Guess which colour has been added to the white and red design of the eggs' packages...
  • Not even model trains are safe. In 1957 Lionel introduced The Girl's Set, a model train with engine and cars painted in pastel colors. Unfortunately they neglected to realize that 1) no boy would want to buy the set and 2) any girl interested in model trains is interested for the same reason as the boys—the realism of the models. Some retailers took to repainting the trains themselves just to move the product. Ironically enough, the set's terrible sales resulted in rarity that now makes it very valuable in the collectors market.
  • The Easy-Bake Oven originally came in either goldenrod or turquoise. Kenner proceeded to continually recolor and redesign the oven, to correspond with evolving aesthetics for actual kitchen appliances. Then, Hasbro bought Kenner, and released Easy-Bake Ovens in pink and white. However, after Hasbro went through various other girly color schemes, a petition convinced them to produce Easy-Bake Ovens with gender-neutral colors once again.
  • Nerf's "Rebelle" line of foam-dart toy weapons for girls (riding on the popularity of The Hunger Games and similar franchises) is mostly made up of designs similar, if not identical, to the regular line... except for white and pink (and purple) colors and feathery "stereotypical young women's tattoos" markings.
  • Draculaura from Monster High is easily one of the most popular characters among the target audience, in virtue of all the pink in her design.


Video Games

  • Some versions of the Playstation 2 were sold with pink systems and pink controllers.
  • The Nintendo DS Lite came in, not one, but two different pink colors during its run - coral pink and metallic rose - both of which were marketed to the increasingly targeted demographic of female gamers. Interestingly, the original coral pink version became a big hit with males, thanks in part to promotion from Penny Arcade. It didn't hurt that, depending on the vagaries of inventory, it was often slightly cheaper at popular online retailers like Amazon.
    • This was preceded by the pink Game Girl, which came with a Tamagotchi game. It didn't really work. Female gamers chose much the same colors the male gamers did.
  • The Japanese starter pack for the Pokémon Trading Card Game's Black and White expansion came in two flavors; a "for boys" version that was packaged in a dark-colored box, and a "for girls" version that was hot pink and covered in hearts. While this wasn't the only difference between the decks, it was certainly the most noticeable. Though it's probably partly a reference to the gender selection at the beginning of every Pokemon RPG since Crystal, it still qualifies.
  • Tectoy, the Brazilian distributor of the Sega Master System, produced a pink portable version of the console called "Master System Girl."
  • PC Gaming peripherals. Razer especially is known for its "Quartz" lineup, essentially pinked out versions of otherwise black or white products. Special mention goes to the cosmetic cat ears on the headsets.


  • Mace to women in pink spray cans rather than the black ones, though these are for breast cancer awareness. They've got the little ribbon on them and everything.
  • And yes, firearms with pink furniture are getting easier and easier to find, triply so for pistols with synthetic frames. It's a lot less patronizing, though, when pink is just one of the many colors offered on a particular gun. If it just comes in black and pink, though, then it falls squarely into this.
  • Most Ruger pepper spray comes in exactly two colors: black and pink. The only exception is the faux lipstick pepper spray, which also comes in red and blue. Clearly, women are more likely to buy mace to defend themselves if it comes in a feminine color or seamlessly blends in with their cosmetics.
    • It may have been intended to pass a casual search, giving a potential victim an element of surprise.

Western Animation

  • She-Ra: Princess of Power: She-Ra's steed Swift Wind presented a problem for male collectors. On the cartoon he was white but the original toy was pink. While the toyline was aimed at young girls, the cartoon, a spin-off of He-Man, was not. Thus She-Ra has a large male fanbase, but many collectors were hesitant to add a pink Winged Unicorn to their collection. When Swift Wind was added to the Masters of the Universe Classics toyline Mattel let fans vote on what color he would be. White won by a landslide.


  • Nothing is immune to this Trope...not even pink Ouija boards.
  • That toolset in the picture comes in two colors, grey and pink.
  • The Talkgirl was nothing more than a Talkboy that was pink and purple.
  • BIC once released a line of "For Her" pink ball-point pens. Reviewers on Amazon immediately went all "Three Wolf Moon" on it, writing hundreds of satirical reviews for the product mocking the idea that somehow women had to be enticed into writing with pink pens.
  • One model of the Super Cassette Vision console was the "Lady's Set" that came in a pink vinyl case and was bundled with the game Milky Princess.
  • Delightfully zig-zagged by The Original Pink Box website, which shows their toolboxes being used by pet groomers to aircraft mechanics, in dressing rooms and at racetracks. The ad copy neither says nor implies anything about gender, but the photographs depict women - exactly how competitors wordlessly assume their customers are men.
  • The Acer Aspire One netbook once came in pink. Like the DS Lite, the pink version was often cheaper.
  • Yogi Tea's teas aimed at men and women. The men's version comes in a brown box and is a blend of ginseng, ginger and chilli, while the women's version comes in a pink box and is a blend of lemon verbena, raspberry leaves and lavender.
  • Proving that not even glue is immune to this, Pritt Stick released a special pink glitter glue stick just for girls.
  • Presenting the "Just for Girls Pink Sellotape Dispenser". Now girls have their own sellotape.

    In-Universe Use 

Fan Fiction

  • Plan 7 of 9 from Outer Space. Among the Long List of options available for a Swiss-Army Weapon in "Have Ray Gun, Will Travel".
    ...available colors include Olive Drab, Jungle Green (Tropical or Equatorial), Desert Brown, Polar White, Urban Grey, Midnight Black, Police Blue, and Penelope Pink."

Live-Action TV

  • Inverted in an episode of American Guns. The customer wanted her M1911 to be pink.
  • On the one hand, Pink Power Rangers always have their wardrobe and accessories (meaning stuff like backpacks, notebooks, whatever civilian items they personally own as opposed to their Ranger gear) colored pink. On the other hand, all Power Rangers always have their wardrobe and accessories in their color.
    • However, this is inverted by much of the gear the Pink Rangers use on the show, thanks to merchandising concerns. Since the show doesn't target girls but rather young boys who (are assumed to) think Pink Is for Sissies, Pink Ranger-specific items like weapons and zords are often some other color with just a little pink trim. Rather than use a specific color to attract a certain audience, they avoid that specific color in order to not repel the opposite audience. Studies showing that the Pink Ranger merchandise consistently sells the worst out of the entire product line support this trend.
  • One episode of Home Improvement had Tim's primary sponsor, Binford Tools, bring out a line of home maintenance tools marketed towards women. Said tools were small, underpowered and pink. Tim hated them, which made it awkward when Tim was told under no uncertain terms that he was to give the line favorable coverage anyway.
  • Played straight by Steph in an episode of Sons of Guns. She deliberately had a rifle painted white and agreed (over her fathers objections) that pink would be an available custom color.


Video Games

  • Dungeons of Dredmor has the "Razor Sword For Her."
    Perfectly identical to the Razor Sword except it's pink and costs twice as much.
  • In the Pokémon series, if you choose to play as the female protagonist, you tend to be given a pink-colored version of the Pokedex and other relevant gadgets.
    • Downplayed with the female protagonist's clothing, as the majority stick to mostly red or light colors without contrasting the male characters' palettes much, only resorting to pink accessories in generations IV, V and VIII (used as a secondary color in those cases).

Web Comics

Western Animation

  • Invoked with Arcee, the most well-known female Transformer. Just so we know she's female, her paint job is bright piiiiiiiiiink. She was not the first pink female Transformer, though - that honor goes to Elita One, who debuted in the cartoon before Arcee. However, if you ask someone to name a female Transformer, they'll most likely respond with Blackarachnia or her.
    • In Transformers: Prime, Arcee is primarily blue instead, although she still has pink trim. In an episode where she meets up with Bumblebee after the latter had reversed his color scheme, she notes that if she were to do the same, she'd be mostly pink, and her tone suggests she wouldn't like it.
  • The Simpsons episode Ice Cream of Margie with the Light Blue Hair featured an Oprah Winfrey styled talk show where Becky Tyson was being interviewed about her invention of the Pink VCR.

Alternative Title(s): Now Available In Pink