Sweet, comforting, sensual, luxurious. These are some of the words we tend to associate with chocolate. These associations are in part due to the fact that these are also words often associated with many chocolate advertisements that frequently depict women as sexually desiring beings or simply as sexual objects. Chocolate has long been thought of as an aphrodisiac and a luxury item that people reach for in times of sadness, elation, and everything in between. Advertisements often prey on this stereotype and lure potential consumers to their products through tactics like sexualizing chocolate, women, and the experience of consuming chocolate.
In the Kinder Bueno advertisement above, which was released to the Polish market in the mid 2000’s, the stereotype of women craving chocolate is depicted in a sexual manner. The video begins with beautiful woman tearing open her Bueno chocolate package while she stares seductively into the camera and takes a bite into the chocolate. The video then takes the viewer through what she experiences while enjoying the Bueno chocolate bar. The images depict a sequence that seems like a dream state, showing bizarre flashes of images that at times seem non-sensical but that point towards the woman experiencing an out of body sexual experience while she consumes the chocolate.
The series of images that follow take the viewer through her experience as she tastes each part of the Bueno bar, the chocolate casing, the wafer, and the hazelnut cream center. In the chocolate sequence, we first see chocolate dripping down bare skin, which immediately moves to an image of a woman and man lying naked under a chocolate colored blanket. Next, images depicting luxury quickly flash by, including a wealthy woman in a chocolate colored fur coat standing under a crystal chandelier.
Moving to the wafer sequence, we find a women dancing seductively with a shiny gold piece of fabric and then a women happily playing tennis in a waffle shaped dress. For the creme sequence, we see a women in Marilyn Monroe type white dress, lifting her skirt seductively, which leads to images of white horses running and an astronaut. Next is an image of a beautiful women and man, naked and surrounded by flowers with diamond like sparkles. Closing the video, we find two rabbits depicting humans in a pink convertible, a hot air balloon rising above a white maze, seemingly taking you away from the stress of life. The last image takes us back to the woman eating the Bueno chocolate bar who looks satisfied and happy with chocolate on her mouth. Throughout the video, a man sings seductively, “give a bit of mmm to me, and I give a bit of mmm to you”. Each section of this dream sequence is sexualized and glamorized to entice the viewer to want to experience the sensual Bueno eating experience. The video attempts to make the viewer believe that eating this chocolate is comparable to a pleasurable sexual experience.
Unfortunately, this extremely sexualized advertisement of a woman eating chocolate has been a normal occurrence for a long time. There were ads in the 1930’s were targeting women’s sexual desires, “The adverts are countering the guilt that supposedly arises from the selfish pleasures of consumption for women. But they are also suggestive of how women should project their heterosexual yearnings and fantasies onto chocolate consumption. Chocolate offers a safe (socially acceptable) and natural release of implicitly sexualized desires” (Robertson 35).
This advertisement is certainly not the only time Ferrero has used female stereotypes to drive their ad campaigns for Kinder Bueno chocolate. The video below entices consumers to give in to indulgence and shows women engaged in stereotypical indulgences like having a handsome man cook dinner for them, getting a manicure in Paris, and sun bathing on a boat. All of these activities are compared to the experience of eating a Bueno chocolate bar. A common theme between both of the videos is the fact that they are trying to make the consumer feel good and enticed to give in to chocolate. As Kristy Leissle has discussed, “viewers must feel good enough to buy chocolate – a luxury item, associated in contemporary European and North American cultures with romantic love, personal indulgence, and festive occasions” (Leissle 131).
In the image I created above, I seek to show women in science enjoying chocolate and embracing the wonderful offerings of the food while embarking on scientific discovery. In contrast to the earlier video, this image does not leverage sexuality to lure consumers to the product, instead it focuses on Bueno chocolate providing energy and bringing smiles to the faces of intelligent women who are dressed in lab coats and taking a brief break from an experiment to enjoy a Bueno chocolate bar. This image seeks to prove that the appeal of chocolate can be successfully depicted through more than just women’s sexuality and stereotypical desires.
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: Manchester UP, 2009. Print.