Monday, January 16, 2012

A chocolate bar that's earned... at the cost of equality!

Advertisements have become an inherent part of our lives. Ever so slowly, we've acclimatized ourselves to the fact that sometime in between the really interesting movie we're watching, there's bound to be a commercial break and we need to be prepared to suspend our thought process for as long as the ads are running and learn to pick up from where we left when the movie does the same.

But once in a while, we stop and think. And thank God we do that! Because when we do, we realize just how banal these advertisements are in reality. Okay... there are a few good ones here and there. But in general the majority out there seem to cater for the fact that the person watching the advertisements doesn't actually watch them. They merely see them and the people behind the advertisements hope that with sufficient repetition, their message will get through to the deeper parts of our brain. And in a way, they probably don't want us to think while we see their claims of being the best because if we did, they no longer would be!

The other day, I happened to see an advertisement for a chocolate bar. And the tagline was how one had to earn that particular chocolate and one can't buy it. Here's what I'd like to tell the people behind that tagline -
"Okay, hotshot! If that's what you really believe I don't think you're aiming on kids with no income of their own to try your product. Okay... maybe you want to be considered the crème de la crème of the chocolate industry. Good for you."
But their recent ad seriously got me mad. And I'm sure many would know of the one I allude to. It has this man who seems to be some connoisseur in cocoa beans and how he takes up one cocoa bean after another and examines them like he's examining diamonds. The local farmers wait expectantly to hear his verdict on their produce when the man removes his monocle and proclaims that the cocoa bean he had been studying was perfect and that it would be that particular brand of chocolate some day. And the locals are really happy. And then, the man examines another cocoa bean and just gives up calling that bean "a nothing". And in predictable advertisement fashion, that bean starts crying and the man asks the local elder to tell the bean that he is sorry. And the banality just gets bigger with one of the locals throwing the bean away.
Now, for those of you who're wondering what's gotten me so mad, it's the fact that this ad has such undertones of discrimination and contempt for the 'imperfect ones' that it just makes me see red. The cocoa bean was not good enough to be a part of the company's overpriced hookum that I can personally say isn't anything out of the ordinary (Just a little more chocolatey!). Fine, they have standards. But to call it 'a nothing' is  little uncalled for! What do they know? The bean wasn't perfect in size and aroma, big deal! Maybe sowing it would yield them more cocoa beans without which there wouldn't be a chocolate company that utterly discriminates even cocoa beans!

Am I being too paranoid? Well... I guess I can't help but notice that the connoisseur was white while the ones who probably know the best about cocoa are the people who grow them - the African farmers. And isn't it a little too racist to expect them to come to the "white man" to get their products assessed?

I call that company discriminatory and racist. What about you?


  1. I don't know if that's how they meant it (to be racist that is) but it is a very stupid and banal add, and yes, it does come off as a bit racist. Haven't seen it on aussie tv yet, and hope not to.

  2. I agreee! I'm so glad someone else sees it that way. *hug*