Monthly Archives: April 2014

Women, Sex and Chocolate

For years media advertisements have associated women and chocolate. Even though males and females of all ages eat chocolate, the chocolate industry predominantly uses ads that feature women or target women by showing attractive men. A UK study from 2012 reported that 87% of men and 91% of women admit to eating chocolate. (cnn) Yet, if an alien were to visit the earth through media and marketing they would probably assume chocolate was only created for women. Marketing firms often centralize a woman’s enjoyment of chocolate around sexual pleasure. For our advertisement, we created a GIF that uses history to counter this modern day stereotype of chocolate as an aphrodisiac; our ad discusses 20th century female aviators who used chocolate for energy during long trips, not for sexual stimulation. 

A sexual chocolate advertisement is the one above for York peppermint patties. The ad tries to parallel the sensation from the first bite into a York peppermint patty with the pleasure from a sexual orgasm. As the ad begins the actor looks down excitedly at the candy in her hand, then shyly looks away before opening the candy with the facial expression she is about to do something risqué. The actor then opens the candy by ripping its wrapping vertically, instead of opening the package by pinching the front and back and pulling open the top; I think this style of opening the candy is deliberate to replicate opening a condom wrapper. She then sniffs the chocolate and proceeds to represent sexual stimulation by biting her bottom lip, a look of satisfaction on her face with her eyes closed, goose bumps on her cleavage line and throwing her head back in a look of ecstasy. To further the sexuality, the slogan at the end of the advertisement is “get the sensation”. These advertisements may be effective advertisements, and the sensation of eating chocolate is truly sensational, but these ads also depict women as weakened by chocolate, as if they are desperate for the pleasure.

Another chocolate ad fusing the sexual desire of women and the pleasure of chocolate is the commercial for a French chocolate company pasted above. The commercial starts out with a series of men shot individually in locations in a city, the one thing these men share in common is their good looks and the appeal to every women they encounter. As the ad progresses it is revealed all of these men are chocolate candy chefs, which creates the image nothing is sexier to a woman than a man who is good with chocolate. In a minute long ad an apron isn’t shown until 26 seconds and chocolate not until 32 seconds, and for some not obvious reason all the bakers are naked underneath their aprons. This ad clearly aimed towards women attempts to endear the consumer to this particular chocolate solely based off their fictitious chefs being incredibly attractive, albeit the chocolate does look tremendously delicious as by the end they finally do show the stages in which the chocolate is crafted. The fact that the chocolate company thought this technique would work, and the fact that maybe it does, somewhat weakens the perception of women to that of chocolate craving beings. 

The advertisement my group and I constructed, posted above, attempts to counter stereotypes of women and chocolate. One of many stereotypes about women and chocolate is they eat for sexual pleasure. Our ad represents 20th century women breaking stereotypes of chocolate. 20th century female aviators used to consume chocolate regularly for energy and were often able to break flight records because of said energy. Today, there is even special military grade chocolate used to augment energy and moral of soldiers (Baglole). Our GIF works to break two stereotypes, the first that women and chocolate are only connected through sex and the second that all aviators are men.




Works Cited

Baglole, Joel. “Chocolate – Energizing Soldiers.” 2014. Web. 12 April 2014. <>


“Who Consumes the Most Chocolate?” The CNN Freedom Project Ending ModernDay Slavery RSS. CNN, 17 Jan. 2012. Web. 13 Apr. 2014. <;.

Gender Stereotypes in Chocolate Advertising

The chocolate industry has come a long way since its beginnings with the Olmecs, Aztecs, and Mayans. Now a billion dollar business worldwide, the consumption levels of chocolate are at an all time high.  A big reason for this are the numerous advertisements people see everyday for chocolate. Tv commercials, billboard ads, flyers, and magazine ads are the most common forms of advertisements seen with chocolate. Gender stereotypes play a large role in these advertisements and always have, especially women.  The relationship between sex, women and chocolate is a huge stereotype seen in many different ads.  Here is a perfect example:

This video is an ad created by a French chocolate company  called Chocolat Poulain. They are well-known for their 1848 dark chocolate bars. The stereotype that women are crazy about chocolate has become self-evident (Anderson). This video highlights that fact and the notion that chocolate is an aphrodisiac.  In this ad, a women is seen having a very erotic  moment in conjunction with the making of the chocolate bar. Its gives a quick peek into chocolate making process for the bar by showing the cacao beens being grinded into chocolate powder, followed by the powder being turned in chocolate liqueur which is finally made into the 1848 bar.  Throughout the process, the female is very erotically mixed in. She sexually bits her lips when the cacao seeds are turned into the powder. She lays in the powder and pours the liquor all over her face and body in a very sexy manner. Finally the unwrapping of the bar and the snap the bar makes when broken is the climatic point. This trend of women being seen as sexual objects  is part of the cultural trends from the Second World War and has been incorporated in chocolate marketing (Robertson 31).

Even though sex and women are very common in chocolate advertising, some women could find this type of marketing very offensive. Therefore we have created another advertisement that could chocolate companies could use that does not employ the stereotype as the first advertisement:



This is a sample of an advertisement that refutes the prior stereotype and is a more effective advertisement. For starters, this ad has the potential to appeal to a broader range of audiences. The picture depicts some of the best basketball players in the world, in a state of celebration. Some can view this ad that is targeted to all males. These players include Kobe Bryant, Lebron James, and Carmelo Anthony, all of whom are some of the most idolized people in the world. Many different industries clamor after these guys in order to use them to advertise their products. Another message that people potentially could get from this message is that of camaraderie and good feelings. Yet another stereotype about chocolate is that is makes people happy and brings them together. The players in the picture or obviously excited are coming together in celebration. The ad can be saying that the cause of all the commotion is the chocolate bar. This does not have to be gender specific since both males and females both play sports. We could have easily used a women’s team instead of the male team and still have the same message. Either way people want to interpret this ad, it is more effective than the first one and directly challenges the stereotype portrayed in the 1848 video.

Ads like this show just how long the connection between sex, women and chocolate have been around:



This ad was obviously made some time ago but it still draws on similar notions like the 1848 chocolate bar did with their video. The female is very well dressed and looks very appealing.  The message on bottom is trying to make the statement that chocolate is “different” for the females. Ironically this is an old ad for Nestle, which is the same company that made the Yorkie bars and their symbol that fights against this stereotype.  The stereotype of chocolate being a pleasurable option for women has a very significant presence in chocolate marketing and will most likely always remain that way since obviously the sales of chocolate is at an all time high



Robertson, Emma. “Chocolate, women and empire: A Social and Cultural History.” Manchester University Press, New York. 2009.

Anderson, L.V. “What’s Up with the Stereotype That Women Love Chocolate?” Slate Magazine. N.p., n.d. Web. 13 Apr. 2014.


Who says sex sells?

Chocolate advertisers have focused on using chocolate as a sex symbol and aphrodisiac to grasps the mainstream audience. Sexual imagery in advertisement “grab attention and help position a brand”. Sexual images promote a brand with qualities of desirability, sensuality, and indulgence. These characteristics influence decisions such that the brand of chocolate equates to the desirable images of sex. The French chocolate brand advertisement uses sexual images of men working half naked in factories, they have a smooth eloquent opera sounding music in the background, and the factory has dim lighting all in hopes to set the mood and promote an pleasurable feeling with this chocolate.

On the other hand York Peppermint Patties use a woman to create sexual images for this chocolate. In this particular advertisement this women indulges in a bite of the Pattie and as this happens she begins to sweat, shake, and get big eyes in an attempt to show off an orgasmic sensation as someone bites into this Pattie. This advertisement connects to the mainstream audience by “conveying the effect that (York) will have on the user’s attractiveness to the opposite sex (Millward Brown)”. While sexual images capture mainstream attention with its direct message, it is not always positive. Sexual images have risks that come with them.

Though these ads grab a lot of attention, “the acceptability of sexually charged images varies considerably across cultures.” Some cultures could view such provocative ads as offensive. These ads can leave an unintended negative reaction even among brand users. To avoid the negative connotations of sexual ads my group made a progressive advertisement that targets chocolates primary consumers, which are woman. A UK study group ran a study and revealed 91% of all women admit to eating chocolate as opposed 87% of men admit to eating chocolate (cnn). The ad that Rachel, Oliver, and I create presents a direct message that chocolate can be represented as a source of energy and many pilots and aviators have used chocolate to sustain energy throughout long journeys. Our ad eliminates the stereotypes of women being housewives but instead highlights them in the world’s advancement. By showing Amelia Earhart after the chocolate bar, it implies that chocolate helped a woman fly across the Atlantic Ocean. Our ad gives women a since of pride. The ad sends an indirect message implying that by eating a chocolate bar woman can accomplish anything they put their mind to. Chocolate companies use chocolate and sex as advertisement to capture mainstream audiences but we present this advertisement of Amelia Earhart to promote a progressive movement and to break stereotypes by presenting a women aviator. This advertisement breaks the stereotype of men being aviators and women can do anything. Today we live in a world where both men and women are seen to be equals but chocolate companies still neglect women by selling their bodies in advertisement instead of seeking ways that chocolate can be used progress society and eliminate senseless stereotypes. 


Robertson, Emma. “Chocolate, women and empire: A Social and Cultural History.”  Manchester University Press, New York. 2009.


Race, Gender and Sexualization in Chocolate Advertising

The first advertisement depicts a close up of a black male’s chest and abs. On the bottom left hand corner there is a chocolate bar segmented into 6 pieces. The caption reads, “Six Pack that melts a girl’s heart.” Released by Mars in March 2007 for it’s Dove chocolate brand, this advertisement incorporates many common themes in chocolate advertising. In fact, these themes are so overused by chocolate marketers that they make this particular advertisement seem innocuous. Manipulation of race, gender and sexuality in chocolate advertising has become so mainstream that consumers are accustom to the objectionable messages they send. By presenting these advertising tropes in an alternative context, the shocking context of the ads becomes more apparent.

Adverting has a long history of exploiting race. In fact, in order to enhance their luxury status, “products made available through the use of slave labour, such as coffee, and cocoa, often used, and many still use, images of black people to enhance their luxury status” (Robertson, 36). While a direct reference to slavery may be absent, the use of a black man in an objectifying manner is a vestige of the racism of the past. This ad draws a clear connection between the model’s skin color and the color of the chocolate which only further objectifies. This connection between blackness and chocolate is common in ads and is so common in ads that the racism behind it is often overlooked.

Haagen-Dazs chocolate ice cream ad that manipulates race.

Contrasting this ad with a new ad for Lindt chocolate illuminates how distasteful the use of race can be. In this new ad, we show a picture of a female model’s chest and stomach. Here, we show two white Lindt truffles outside of the package with the caption “Looks best in pairs,” a reference to the woman’s breasts. Just like in the other ad, the woman is objectified and exploited, in part, for the color of her skin. Relating the woman’s whiteness the color of white chocolate seems more uncomfortable than relating a man’s blackness do that of milk chocolate. This difference is a result of how familiar it is to use black people when advertising chocolate.

A fictitious advertisement for Lindt Truffles that highlights the racism and sexism in chocolate advertising
A Lindt Truffles advertisement created to demonstrate racist and sexist advertising themes

It’s impossible to ignore the sexual nature of Dove’s advertisement. The advertisement is designed to be alluring to people attracted to men. Sexualized representations in advertising, especially in chocolate advertising are so common that consumer’s will hardly blink an eye at this type of marketing ploy. This sexualization has become more prevalent over the years to the point in which it’s expected by media. In fact, sexualized representations of men in Rolling Stone cover images jumped from 11% to 17% since the 60’s while that of women jumped from 44% to 83% (pbs). Even the ridiculous sexual nature of the fake Lindt advertisement seems normal. In the case of chocolate advertising, it is theorized that marketers must overcome that taboo of women eating fatty, sweet foods by replacing it with a sexual taboo (Society Pages). Despite this, there are ill effects of representing humans as sex objects. These types of images, especially those depicting woman, may “function to normalize violence against women” (pbs).

What may be most damaging in the Dove advertisement is the paternalistic logic subtending the notion that women would be more attracted to Dove chocolate if they associated it to an attractive black male. As Emma Robertson points out in her article, women have been historically regarded as obsessed by chocolate, so much so that certain advertisements like those of Dairy Box have portrayed women as being “enslaved” to it. But never is a woman more thrilled to acquire a box of chocolates in the advertisement narrative than when it is charged with romantic significance. In many chocolate advertisements, she points out that women are so thrilled to receive a box of chocolates from a man that they become a symbol of “obsession” and “excess.” That is, the weakness of a woman, her inability to control her own desires and sensual tendencies predispose her to fall prey to such advertisements. This troubling notion is rampant in chocolate advertising. The Lindt advertisement, which caters towards a male audience, plays on the inferiority of women in much the same fashion. Its depiction of a woman instead of a man does nothing to question to the structures of male dominance. It represents only an exchange of the idea slave and luxury item—the black servant—for yet a new one: the desirable white woman.

The prevalence racist, sexists and sexualized themes have normalized them in the marketing world. Even a modicum of analysis will reveal the discriminatory messages they reflect and reinforce.


Another ad that examines some of these themes is this fake ad for Hershey’s. Like Dove’s ad, this Hershey ad compares a human body to a chocolate product. In this case, the side of an overweight woman’s body is displayed next to the rolls of Hershey’s chocolate syrup. In this parody, the idea of comparing a person’s body to chocolate seems much more ridiculous. Since advertisements typically showcase very fit models, incorporating an overweight woman into the ad seems foreign. The text, “The lighter way to enjoy chocolate” is a legitimate slogan by the chocolate company Maltesers. It’s used here to further mock chocolate companies for sexualizing fit, attractive models in their ads. Putting it in the foreground of this picture is a way of illuminating how chocolate advertisers ignore the health of effects of their product. While the text tries to steer clear of the taboo of chocolate as a calorie dense, fattening product, the message of the picture forces it to face this reality.


Fahim, Jamal. “Sex and Chocolate Propaganda Research.” The Society Pages. N.p., 2 Dec. 2010. Web. 10 Apr. 2014.

Robertson, Emma. Chocolate, Women, and Empire. New York: Manchester UP, 2009. Print.

Melker, Saskia. “Researchers Measure Increasing Sexualization of Images in Magazines.”PBS. PBS, 21 Dec. 2013. Web. 11 Apr. 2014.

The Sexualized Nature of the Relationship Between Women and Chocolate

Gender has historically played a large role in the perception and in the advertising surrounding the chocolate industry.  The industry has been predominantly associated with men, from the male cocoa farmer to the male titan of industry, such that “women are either made invisible or their labour is devalued” (Robertson 91). Further, women, both throughout the 20th century and in modern times, have been depicted as beings that will do anything for chocolate in advertisements of chocolate products.  Further entrenching the gendered approach to chocolate advertising, though, is how highly sexualized these advertisements are.  The message that this sort of media conveys is that women are sexually attracted to and almost desperate for chocolate.

These ideas are clear in most chocolate advertising, and the recent York Peppermint Patty television commercial is no exception:

In the commercial, a woman is unwrapping the object of the advertisement: a York Peppermint Patty that she holds in her hands.  As she goes through the process of removing the product’s packaging, she bites her lip multiple times, conveying an inability to control herself and a strong desire for the chocolate product.  Additionally, once she removes the packaging, the woman inhales the smell of chocolate and peppermint in such a way that it appeared that she was overwhelmed by how much she desired the chocolate product.  The advertisement also includes frames of the woman’s eyes widening and of her almost caressing the product.

Even in chocolate advertisements that don’t feature women, the prevalence of these sexualized ideas of women and chocolate are clear, as is the case in this television commercial marketed by a French chocolate company:

An advertisement for chocolate featuring men

In this advertisement, men working in the chocolate company’s kitchens are shirtless underneath their cooking aprons, displaying the chiseled muscle and strength that heterosexual women most often physically desire.  The advertisement focuses on both the various sweets the shirtless chocolatiers and bakers are creating and the men’s physical bodies.  Though the advertisement centers largely on men, the men in the commercial are portrayed as the objects of women’s sexual attraction to chocolate products.

Since the chocolate industry so rarely detaches its marketing of chocolate products from this highly sexualized and uncontrollably desired image of chocolate to women, the advertisement we created centers upon defying expected gender roles and depicting women in a way that is not desperate but instead strong and empowered.

A GIF demonstrating a less gendered approach to chocolate advertising
A GIF demonstrating a less gendered approach to chocolate advertising

In this GIF advertisement, the first image describes the role that chocolate had for aviators in the early 20th century.  Aviators swore by chocolate as a source of energy, and claimed they were often able to break flight records when consuming it; today, there is special military grade chocolate that is used for “energy and morale” of soldiers (Baglole).  The second image is of a female aviator that then gives the name of a brand of chocolate, and then reaffirms that it’s a great source of energy and can perhaps propel those who consume it into being more adventurous.  Thus, in this advertisement, the ideas of the historical neglect of women’s labour and implication that women are uncontrollably attracted to chocolate products are addressed by promoting a much more positive association between women and chocolate.  The GIF call into question gender roles and assumptions, like the idea that aviators would have to be men, because it speaks of aviators and then shows a female aviator, of whom there were only a few but whose existence should certainly lead people to question their assumptions regarding the expected gender identity of aviators.  Additionally, rather than sexualizing women in relation to chocolate, the advertisement portrays women who eat chocolate as adventurous, empowered, and norm-defying, encouraging these attributes alongside the consumption of chocolate.  Thus, the sexual and neglectful nature of the more widely-accepted relationship between women and chocolate is not the one and only nature, though it is certainly the most prominent.

Moving forward, the chocolate industry should help in combating these gendered issues that arise in the portrayal of itself.  There are other appealing ways in which chocolate marketing can depict women, so for all advertisements to center on a sexualized and almost desperate woman who can’t contain herself around chocolate products is unnecessary and perpetuates unfair assumptions on both the contributions of women to the cocoa production process and on the very nature of womankind.

Baglole, Joel. “Chocolate – Energizing Soldiers.” 2014. Web. 12 April 2014. <;

Robertson, Emma. “Chocolate, women and empire: A Social and Cultural History.”  Manchester University Press, New York. 2009.


Yorkie: A Chocolate Bar for Everyone


In 2002, Nestle launched a new advertising campaign for the Yorkie bar, based on the argument that in a current world of increasing female dominance, men didn’t have much that they could “claim as their own” (Badenoch, 2009).

When I initially saw the logo for Nestle’s Yorkie bar (pictured above), I thought it was a joke. While I have seen my fair share of sexist advertising, it seemed unfathomable to me that a chocolate bar whose wrapper had “NOT FOR GIRLS” printed across it was even available on the market. As I did more research, I saw that this packaging was no joke, but rather part of a £3m advertising campaign launched in 2002 that aimed to “reclaim chocolate for men” (Smith and Taylor, 2004). The marketing director of Nestle at the time, Andrew Harrison, said the campaign was planned as a direct response to the “feminine silks and swirls and indulgent images of most confectionery advertising” (Smith and Taylor, 2004).

While it is understandable that Nestle was trying to target male consumers, it is not understandable why these efforts had to be at the expense of women. Additionally, from an economic standpoint it would seem unwise to blatantly exclude 50% of the entire population from a potential market. Thus, Chrissy, Emily, and I aimed to introduce a more inclusive advertisement that puts women back into the equation, not only as a way to combat sexism but also to increase the potential market size of Nestle’s Yorkie Bar.

Our attempt to make a more inclusively-marketed product.
Our attempt to make a more inclusively-marketed product.

In order to explain our logic in creating this new advertisement, it would be useful to first explore the Yorkie bar’s history. As explained on Nestle’s UK website, the Yorkie chocolate bar was launched in 1976 to compete with and to provide a chunkier alternative to the slimmed-down Cadbury Dairy Milk bars. According to its nutritional information, the Yorkie Bar shows is almost double the size of average chocolate bar, weighing in at 70 grams and amounting to a whopping 300 calories. Imagery associated with Yorkie bars in early advertising campaigns featured truck drivers as a response to the female-oriented target market for Cadbury Dairy Milk. While chocolate advertising aimed toward women has typically depicted it as a “sexual indulgence” to satisfy a sensual appetite, Yorkie appealed to men by portraying the product as one that satisfied a physical appetite (Badenoch, 2009).

The television advertisement above shows a woman attempting to purchase a Yorkie, but the only way she can do this is by gluing on a fake beard and dressing up as a builder to fool the large male shopkeeper. 

The logo, then, attempts to represent the hunger-satisfying, masculine qualities of the Yorkie bar. The big, bold, strong font of “NOT FOR GIRLS” is meant to assert the Yorkie’s dominance over the male market by completing excluding females from trying the product. Aside from its explicit slogan, the logo is blatantly directed to appeal to men, as the marketers turned the ‘o’ in Yorkie into a street-sign image of a woman with a red line across it. Furthermore, by explaining that the bar is not available into pink, the advertisement plays on the stereotype that pink is a color that can only be enjoyed by women and not men. This purposely is meant to discourage women from eating Yorkie bars to firmly cement the product as one exclusively consumed by men.

While we understand that British humor varies greatly from American humor, and that these advertisements were meant to be tongue-in-cheek, it is questionable whether we should laud a product that intentionally excludes others. Thus, Chrissy, Emily, and I created an advertisement to send the message that the large size of the Yorkie bar should not prohibit females from consuming it. In our reinvention of the wrapper, we maintain similar elements of the original so that it is seen as a direct response. Thus, we kept the same large, bold block font but replaced the text with “ANYONE CAN WEAR PINK… AND ANYONE CAN ENJOY A YORKIE.” This destroys the notion that pink is traditionally considered to be a color only enjoyed by women and demonstrates that pink is a color that can be worn by all sexes, just as a Yorkie can be enjoyed by all sexes.

Additionally, we changed the bottom slogan to “Yorkie: Available in ALL Colors” in order to once again illustrate an atmosphere of inclusivity. By alternating the standard bold block lettering along with a flowery cursive font, we hoped to demonstrate that masculine and feminine elements could coincide with each other in harmony. To further reinforce this message, we replaced the image of the crossed-out woman with a male and female holding hands, showing that men and women can enjoy Yorkie bars together. It is our hope that this new advertisement serves as a remedy to sexist advertising on both sides: to the original Yorkie campaign that intentionally excludes women, but also to the traditional, flowery advertising of chocolate products that exclude men.

Works Cited

Badenoch, Alexander, Moss, Sarah (2009). Chocolate: A Global History. Reaktion Books, London, UK.

Nestle, UK.

OFlaherty, Kelly (2008). “Brands make a play for women.” Marketing Week Magazine.

Smith, P.R., Taylor, J. (2004). Marketing Communications: An Integrated Approach. Kogan Page Publishers, London, UK.

The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly: Gender and Sexuality in Chocolate Advertisements

Advertising and marketing has grown to consume nearly every aspect of life in the capitalist economies of the world. Companies and corporations employ the tactics of fighter pilots as they bombard the public with image after image and video after video. Posters, billboards, television commercials, and internet pop-ups all vie for the attention and the wallets of consumers. In the United States, the average American is exposed to as many as 5,000 marketing messages a day ( Chocolate companies are no exception to this rule, spending more than $17 billion annually on advertisements.

In their maddened rush to make their ad the most noticeable, the most innovative, or the most avant-garde, advertisers seek not to only simply sell a product, but to mold the countenance of the consumer into complete brand loyalty. To accomplish this, advertisers present distorted images as reality to consumers; advertisements are their vehicles for this manipulation: advertisements, according to Judith Williamson, “invite us ‘freely’ to create ourselves in accordance with the way in which they have already created us” (qtd. in Robertson 19). As a result, advertisements often present a controversial face to their consumers. In the case of women in advertisements, they are often sexualized and objectified based on their physical desirability. Once again, chocolate corporations and advertisers are no exception to the normal rule. In chocolate campaigns, females are often portrayed in the throes of orgasmic ecstasy upon consuming a bar or bathing naked in the melted candy. Not all chocolate advertisements are equal in their portrayal of the sexual woman, but so pervasive is the chocolate industry’s advertising model of the hyper-sexualized woman that even when a company makes something that appears to contrast this standard model, the sexual woman is still very much present.

So pervasive is the model of selling women as sexual beings in chocolate advertisements that even objects that have merely been ascribed to the female gender are sexualized. In no other advertisement could this be clearer than this M&M’s advertisement. The following advertisement depicts the green M&M, until recently the only female M&M character, handcuffed to a tree with one leg wrapped seductively around the trunk. She is, of course, representing the Green Party.


This advertisement can be construed as a sign of environmental activism. Miss Green is using her body to protect a tree that is in danger of being cut down as the other trees in the background have been. However, the caption below her signature white heels dispels any doubt that this female candy character is being sexualized. It states: “Miss Green, working the polls.” This green candy is being equated to a poll dancer. The handcuffs are reminiscent of those used in sexual acts. The sexualizing of characters that are only ascribed the gender of female shows the chocolate industry’s sexual obsession with the female form: it extends to anything simply labeled as female.

Chocolate advertisements featuring women cannot be divided into two worlds—sexual and bad, sexless and good—only a spectrum of criticisms can accurately demonstrate women’s convoluted portrayal in chocolate ads. The following advertisement perfectly exemplifies the middle ground. It is a vast improvement from the pure carnality of the M&M’s advertisement, but it still presents the image of a woman who is sexual in her characterization.


In this advertisement a beautiful, young woman, a Ghanaian cacao farmer of the Kuapa Kokoo cooperative and a co-owner of Divine Chocolate—the company that published this advertisement—holds up a piece of chocolate to her mouth. She is fashionably clad is a strapless wrap-dress. She stares directly into the camera as she holds her other hand on her hip.

The first indicator that this woman is being sexualized is her apparel and her posture. The farmer is wearing a revealing wrap-dress that highlights her cleavage. Her pose is sassy and sultry, with one hand on her hip. The placement of the chocolate draws the viewer’s eyes to her lips. It is the caption of this advertisement, however, that is the most overt indicator that this woman is being sexualized. It reads: “Just developed an appetite for fighting global poverty?” However, it is not the chocolate that is feature front and center in the advertisement: it is the woman. This caption suggests an appetite of a purely erotic and sexual nature rather than one of taste.

However, unlike the M&M’s advertisement this ad does much more than, simply, sexualize the woman it portrays. In her article, “Cosmopolitan cocoa farmers: refashioning Africa in Divine Chocolate advertisements,” Kristy Leissle nearly celebrates this advertisement. She states that the “images provide a fresh visual reframing of the exchanges of goods and capital between Africa and Europe” (Leissle 121). She is correct in her assertions. For hundreds of years Africa has been at the mercy of Europe’s stereotypes. During colonial times, Africa was portrayed as the “uncivilized Other” contrasted with its own “civilized,” colonial self (Leissle 125). Post-colonially, Africa has been depicted as either one or the other of a set of contrasting binaries without room for hybridity: either the continent is primitive or it is civilized, traditional or modern, underdeveloped and developed (Leissle 122).

The fashion and youth of the advertisement mark it as transcendental to the restricting dichotomies given to Africa. The woman in the advertisement is wearing Dutch wax cloth print cloth, a cloth of hybridity drawing influence from the native styles of Indonesia and Africa as well as technological innovation from the Netherlands. Her garment is truly global. Her jewelry also marks her as someone with financial independence who can afford to have such luxury items about her person. “The social status and mobility suggested by [her] cosmopolitan fashions reflect a close affiliation with the privileges of modernity and development narratives” (Leissle 129). The narratives of modernity and development are anchored against the contextualizing backdrop of the advertisement which shows the rural agricultural settings where these developments are occurring. This contextualization of the development illustrated in the ad is a direct contrast to the binaries that have dominated the portrayal of Africa for the past half-century.

While this Divine Chocolate advertisement does a lot in terms of dispelling stereotypes that have lingered over Africa for decades since colonialisms ebb in the continent, it does not do enough to represent women as for-runners in globalization and development. Rather the advertisement still portrayed the woman in a sexual light. With this in mind, this advertisement was created.


This newly-created advertisement features Comfort Kumeah, a Ghanaian cacao farmer and co-owner of Divine Chocolates. She is named in the advertisement, putting an identity and a title, farmer and co-owner, to her face; and thus, making her message more powerful and accessible.  She is not portrayed in a sexual nature as the other cacao farmer was. Her clothing is modest and her stance is not suggestive or alluring, but powerful. The caption, “We produce the best of the best cocoa beans,” does not seek to sexualize the woman who is front and center in the advertisement, but emphasize the quality of the product that she has grown. This new advertisement shows, both, the cacao beans and the finished, packaged cacao products, the continuity between the raw agricultural product that Comfort cultivates and the finished product that she had a stake in making, makes the message more powerful than showing a small piece of unwrapped chocolate. Ultimately, this advertisement is an improvement on the sexualized nature of the Divine Chocolate advertisement; Comfort is portrayed as a strong woman without the need to draw her strength from sexual appeal.

Women are constantly sexualized in chocolate advertisements. From the extreme instances such as the M&M’s advertisement to less severe instances such as the Divine Chocolate advertisement, women are illustrated as sexy and sultry and alluring for their physical desirability. This occurs because of one simple fact: sex sells. Each advertising campaign that objectifies women normalizes and reinforces the “dominant ideologies” that classify women as sexual beings (Robertson 53). Even advertisements that seek to dispel other stereotypes that are common in advertising fail to dispel that about the sexual nature of women, so pervasive is the model of the hyper-sexualized woman. This failing shows that the “dominant ideologies” with regards to women are still sexual and objectifying in their nature (53). And, until society, as a whole, changes its mindset about women, advertisers will continue to sexualize and objectify women.

Works Cited

Johnson, Caitlin. “Cutting Through Advertising Clutter.” CBSNews. CBS Interactive, 17 Sept. 2006. Web. 10 Apr. 2014. <       advertising-clutter/>.

Leissle, Kristy. “Cosmopolitan Cocoa Farmers: Refashioning Africa in Divine Chocolate    Advertisements.” Journal of African Cultural Studies 24.2 (2012): 121-39. Print.

Robertson, Emma. Chocolate, Women and Empire: A Social and Cultural History. Manchester, England: Manchester UP, 2009. Print.

Chocolate and Representation

Kyle Casey


Chocolate and Representation

One way in which chocolate has been advertised over the years is in a very feminine, sexual manner. In this 1848 chocolate advertisement chocolate is highly sexualized and gendered. The commercial opens with a women rubbing her finger across a golden silky material and sexually sighing. The camera then flashes to a scene of the women unwrapping the candy bar and thrusting her neck back in a sensuous manner. Nuts and fire proceed to pass across the screen as the woman glides her hand through a dark powder, throwing it over her face. Other seductive actions proceed to happen before a tantalizing image of the woman pouring chocolate across her face and body. Chocolate boulders are being crack and a chocolate river being splashed in. Finally as the camera pans the naked woman’s body until right before her chest they show the chocolate and the lady taking a bite. This advertisement sells chocolate as sex. It is showcasing what and how people seemingly feel while eating their chocolate. It’s interesting that the chocolate is not the main theme of the ad; sex appeal is. The company is selling and broadcasting the sex appeal of the woman and her actions to commence a feeling of luxuriance and sexiness in the audience. This ad brands chocolate as a highly erotic, promiscuous product that brings upon much more than just enjoyment while eating. It feminizes woman trying to strike a point of arousal. It targets women explicitly in many stirring ways.

In this ad that we have created we push back on the initial advertisement that chocolate is simply for girls and brings about the feeling and emotion in the previous ad. Here we show a girl once again with chocolate smudges and smeared all over her face but with a banned signed over her face. We also connected a yorkie bar picture that pushes against the first ad as well. Showing that chocolate is not jus for woman but men as well. Yorkie bars were originally made in large cube shapes and the pitch was that it was a man’s bar. It is interesting to see that the yorkie company chose this approach and the 1848 company chose to present a more free flowing, smooth, creamy chocolate that made u feel like a woman. The ideas and concepts are perfectly opposing each other in every. The representation of chocolate in both these ads serve to support each other. They are both enhancing internal feeling and characteristics of the respective gender, making the woman feel sexier and the men feel manlier.

Not for girls

These ads enhance the gender roles of individuals and infer that this is because of chocolate. However chocolate does not have to brand individuals in this manner. This last ad is a Hershey ad that brings forth a different side of what chocolate can do for people. This Hershey ad starts by simply saying this is more than chocolate. One can see that they are trying to brand this chocolate right from the beginning. It continues to show men and women gathered around playing a board game, a father and son stop to savor a moment and a group of girl friends enjoy the day and life together. This rebrands chocolate to be a more inclusive, community, and life-fulfilling type of experience. It shows people coming together and having a good time.

Many companies like to show and try to bring about a feeling of positivity in watching the their advertisements. Divine chocolate “advertisements offer an opportunity to look beyond the exploitative market manoeuvres of nation states and corporate firms, inviting viewers to see women farmers as potent actors in transnational exchanges of raw materials and luxury goods, and as beneficiaries of these exchanges.” This is an ad that and campaign that strive to highlight the good in what and more specifically why they are doing what they are doing. This brings a sense of good-heartedness to the consumer when purchasing.

Chocolate is used in the ads as a sense of empowerment for both genders. It brings about an entitlement and self-confidence in the consumer. It is represented in a multitude of manners, gender being an issue that is played upon a lot. It is an easy way to target a specific audience and send them a message about what your product can do for them.

Leissle, Kristy  Global Studies and African Studies, University of Washington, Bothell, WA,

Robertson, Emma. Chocolate, Women and Empire: A Social and Cultural History. Manchester, UK: Manchester University Press, 2009.

Gender Stereotypes in Yorkie Adverts

In today’s advertising world, most chocolate adds are geared towards women as the primary consumers of chocolate. Even adds that depict men tend to do so in a way that is attractive to women, rather than attractive to men. It can be rare to find a chocolate add that is directed toward men, and this has been the growing case for quite some years. Even the post-war adverts for Black Magic and Dairy Box chocolates that were in fact geared towards men as the targeted purchaser were done so and with the understanding that young men would be purchasing these chocolates as a gift for their girlfriends (Robertson 31).

I would argue that this is still the case today: Most chocolate ads, if they are geared toward a male purchaser, are done in the context of romantic relationships and somehow “getting” the girl. As an example, this 2010 Baci add, which is all about saying “I love you” with a chocolate kiss, ends with a young man who presents a chocolate kiss to his romantic interest.

Nestle-Rowntree has a product campaign, however, that defies this norm that associates chocolate with being a woman’s food.  The Yorkie, a chocolate bar popular in England, is marketed as a man’s chocolate bar, and a chocolate bar specifically not for girls. A person might describe a Yorkie chocolate bar as hefty or bulky, and thus more suited for big strong burly men than for slight petite and fragile women. It is marketed as man fuel for manly things, and advertisements such as this one, depicting a girl attempting to trick a store clerk into selling her a Yorkie are common:

Yorkie: Five big masculine chunks of chocolate. It’s not for girls.

Many Yorkie adds depict stereotypes of men and women, rather than the reality of the situation. The add that my project group decided to specifically push against is the follow ing print advertisement:

The problems we found with this particular advertisement is that it feeds several unfair stereotypes.  First, according to the implications of this add, all women wear pink.  The color pink is tied to a woman’s feminine identity weather she wants it to be or not.  This is a problem at large with our society’s perception of what it means to be feminine or female that is only supported here by this Yorkie add.  As a girl who identifies as quite feminine while also disliking the color pink, I find this stereotype particularly irksome in the same way that I find the stereotype that women aren’t good at math to be irksome.

This add also indirectly implies that there is something wrong with a man who wears pink, that it is for some reason unacceptable as a color for men, or that a man who wears pink is not very manly.  This add, and the entire Yorkie marketing campaign, also makes the ridiculous claim that because it is a bulkier, burlier, chocolate bar, women can’t have a Yorkie.

Our group directly responded to this ad with an ad of our own:




Altough there truly are irrefutable differences between men and women (Greeno 313), we wanted to push back against the unfair and alienating gender stereotypes in the Yorkie add.  We decided to keep the aesthetics the same for the most part, but replace the words with a slogan that is not only more inclusive, but that also doesn’t bow down to gender stereotypes.  “Anyone can wear pink” disassociates the color pink from any one gender, and “anyone can enjoy a Yorkie” makes plain the fact that a Yorkie is just another chocolate bar that will appeal to anyone who likes chocolate, regardless of how they self-identify or are identified by others.

Although strong in conjunction with and as a direct response to the original Yorkie ad, our ad does make less sense when seen alone as an independent ad.  There is no obvious connection to wearing pink and eating a Yorkie in our ad, intentionally so, but this weakens the impact when seen separately from the original ad.  This is why I feel the new ad would make a very good protest poster to be viewed simultaneously with the original ad, or by an audience that is already familiar with the original add in question.

Works Referenced

“A Baci Chocolate TV Ad Australia “Say it with a Kiss” Valentine’s Day 2010″ Brazilian Coffee.

Barrowman, K. “National 5 Media Analysis: Print Advertising.” GCC Media Studies Resource. April 14.

Greeno, Catherine G. and Eleanor E. Maccoby. “How Different is ‘The Different Voice’?”  Signs. The University of Chicago Press. Vol. 11, No. 2 (Winter, 1986) 310-316.

Robertson, Emma. “Chocolate, Women, and Empire: A Social and Cultural History.” Manchester University Press. Manchester, 2009.

Yorkie. “It’s not for girls”. Writer/art director: Anthony Smith. Director: Chris Palmer.


Give A Boy Chocolate…?

Advertisements for chocolate and cocoa products may be some of the most colorful and hyperbolic in marketing throughout history. Being a sweet treat, many chocolate ads are targeted at children or at parents to convince them to buy their children chocolate. A common theme in chocolate advertising, no matter who it is aimed at, is irrational or exceptionally dramatic behavior. Another theme has also been absence of a true message about the chocolate. Advertisements for chocolate have also become so elaborate and far-fetched in order to catch consumers attention, that they seem irrelevant to the product. This post will look at a video advertisement that features both of the above trends.

The advertisement below for Stratos chocolate, a Norwegian brand. It begins with a young boy shooting soccer goals alone, going from excited to sad. Then it transitions to his home. He gets to work diligently making pasta, setting a table for two, trying to open a bottle of wine (to no avail) and putting flowers on the table. The boy’s parents arrive and to their surprise find what the boy has arranged for them. Their expressions are impressed and amused. The son comes out in his pajamas to indicate he is going to sleep. Before he heads off to bed though, he slips into his parent’s room and cheekily dims the lights. The scene the transitions to the boy walking through a hospital with his father. They enter the room in which the mother is in a hospital bed. The boy walks around the bed matter-o-factly to a hospital crib holding his new baby sibling. He gazes at the infant, nods his head in approval and sets a pair of soccer cleats on top of the baby. The last frame shows him sitting in a chair next to the baby, eating a Stratos bar and the logo “Makes good better” flashes on the screen.

What is unique about this ad is that it doesn’t even feature the chocolate until the last 10 seconds. Also, unlike many ads, it doesn’t features a crazed or over-sexualized woman or racialized undertones. Yet, it does feature a heterosexual nuclear family. The fact the commercial is relatively positive in the way in promotes the family and child, it can be argued that the white, atypical family speaks to the race because the commercial is showing an ideal family. An aspect of the commercial that may not have been the overt message, but comes across is how scheming the child is. He creates this incredibly elaborate plan to get his parents to have another child so he can have a playmate. Can he not find a friend? Even this commercial, which is aiming to be heartwarming, has the hidden message that chocolate is associated with altering your state of mind. Though the boy isn’t going crazy for chocolate, the ‘good’ that is the joy of playing sport is made ‘better’ by getting a playing partner and celebrating with a Stratos bar.

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The ad that we created looked to mimic the style of the classic children’s book “If You Give A Mouse a Cookie…”. It makes the overall message and underlying intentions of the original advertisement much more clearly. It features the same child, but with captions explaining what his actions are really trying to tell you about Stratos chocolate. The idea that your child can be an ‘angel’ if given chocolate is completely ironic, because children tend to act the exact opposite when given foods with high sugar content. It follows with Robertson’s argument of the “chocolate fantasy” (p. 3) many advertisements tend to create. The comments on the YouTube account with this ad show much confusion, with one person commenting: “funny but what does this have to do with chocolate????”. This speaks to how subtle the messages in this commercial are, so our ad is trying to uncover them.

The Stratos ad is refreshingly heartwarming and pretty cute compared to other chocolate ads. It doesn’t feature a crazed or sexualized woman, overtly racist themes and it isn’t targeting children in a way they can’t understand. In the way Leissle finds Divine chocolate ads to be an “enlightening contrast” to the ways African women are often presented, this ad is an enlightening contrast to some of the more negative ads we see involving chocolate. Yet, the underlying message still involves a child going to great lengths and planning an elaborate scheme, so it isn’t completely free of critique.


Works Cited

Leissle, Kristy. 2012. “Cosmopolitan cocoa farmers: refashioning Africa in Divine Chocolate advertisements.” Journal of African Cultural Studies 24 (2)

Robertson, Emma. 2010. Chocolate, Women and Empire: A Social and Cultural History