Apr 12, 2009

"CALIGULA WOULD HAVE BLUSHED"

I'm not a chocoholic. Often I hear, "Really? I thought all women love chocolate?" Which makes me wonder if a disproportionate number of women to men really, truly love chocolate, or if we've just been told ad nauseam that all women love chocolate until we've accepted it as the standard. Aren't we supposed to believe that the proverbial pint of Hagen Daaz is all we need to mend our broken hearts, not, say, time, therapy or perhaps something healthy like time at the gym?

Par exampluh, this cute advertisement is about chocolate as therapy, yet it does convey a sense that one must have a reason-- permission?-- to enjoy a piece of chocolate.

Which leads me to: I have on the television this morning, as I'm working on odds and ends and puttering around the house. And I've now just seen several commercials that lead me to one conclusion: The recipe for making a commercial about chocolate is to write a script about sex-- or, as is more often the case, oral sex or masturbation-- then replace the sexual references with chocolate. (I don't mention this to say there is anything wrong with an overt sensuality, mind you, but more with an eye to what's being the curtain. It is that chocolate is okay if it's used as a coping tool or all about the senses and done sexily?) Case in point, this Dove chocolate advert, this Galaxy chocolate advert, and how could we forget the way Nestle tried to sell us decades ago on the idea that white chocolate desire was perhaps less primal and more Euro. And, perhaps this extends to other desserty, cream sort of things, too, as this Irish Bailey's commercial suggests. The point is more clearly stated with Axe's chocolate man and his ability to drive the ladies to ecstacy with his, uh, self and the Romanian Kandia chocolate commercial involving a woman, quite actually having sex with her chocolate in symbolic human form.

Then again, I think that Romanian advertisement, and ones like this which are so over the top, are, in a sense more honest then their American counterparts. Once something is so completely out in the open, it's upfront with its game and everyone can think more critically. And, really, that's always my concern with any message, that without mass media literacy and developed critical thinking skills as a more common and widely-accepted practice, we take too much at face value and adopt delivered ideas as our own. Like all women being positively obsessed with chocolate as de rigeur. This Hershey's ad, which has always stuck in my mind a bit, at least tries to go there. I don't think it quite makes it, but it's close, and maybe one of the more straightforward ads as of late. Maybe as close as we can get as it stands, anyway.

If only chocolate advertising could be more fun, like our Romanian friends seem to get with their nerds/brown sugar ad. Here, it seems like the only time we see just good old fashioned silliness seems to be with low-sugar orange juice, Diet Coke and 100-calorie snacks. And, we all know what I'm going to say about that.

2 comments:

abmw said...

Great link compilation. My takeaway:

Are the advertising creatives just trying harder when it comes to women and chocolate? These ads are far more primal and just plain persuasive than say, a Ford ad.

davidwrotethis said...

I wonder what Romanian parents say to their children when they ask about the commercials.