Women and Chocolate: Exploitation Through Advertising

Advertising is a very large industry with a wide scope, with many different techniques used to appeal to an audience. One subject that pervades almost every industry is the objectification of woman, with the chocolate industry certainly being no exception, as it is instead a rather strong example.  Godiva Chocolatier’s “Every Woman is One Part (Go)Diva” campaign is just one example in a long line of chocolate advertisements that feature woman as the subject, usually in an exploitative way. This specific campaign from 2004 aimed at beginning a rebrand of the company by attempting to attract more women to buy chocolate for themselves. However, the ad exploits the woman’s body and shows women in a prejudiced way. Contrary to this campaign, my ad seeks to rebrand Godiva, targeting a real woman seeking a break from her day, and to show a representation of a real woman rather than the stereotypical “Diva”.

chocolate ad

The “Every Woman is One Part Diva” campaign began in the United States in 2004, and targeted Godiva’s female consumers. According to the Wall Street Journal, company executives said this campaign was the first step in an attempt to reinvent the Godiva Brand from a gifting purchase to one of personal indulgence (Cho, 2004). The advertisements use sex appeal, objectifying the models’ bodies, and attempting to appeal to the consumer by saying that they too, are a diva. The women in the ads all have lustful looks and appear to be disheveled with messy hair and loose, thin clothing which appears to be falling off. While most women in the ads are holding chocolate, the model above is wearing the chocolate strategically placed on her chest while she lies on her back, drawing the viewer’s eye to her cleavage.  Using sex appeal to reach out to the “Diva” in each woman, the ad seeks to create a lifestyle that these divas live which then becomes associated with Godiva. In rebranding this way, Godiva is seeking to become a more sexy chocolate option that women can indulge themselves with, almost like a lover.

chocolate ad two

This second ad from the same campaign again shows women in a prejudiced way which follows a larger trend in advertising. In her book Chocolate, Women and Empire: A Social and Cultural History, Emma Robertson discusses this trend in depth, and from the first chocolate advertisements she proves that women were shown in a prejudiced way (Robertson, 2009). This ad shows a similar woman, who is enjoying Godiva chocolate. Furthering the sex stereotypes found in the other ad, here the chocolate is suggestively placed in the mouth as it is in many other advertisements. In these ads and in the Godiva ads as well, chocolate is almost akin to being a lover for women, and places the power in the hands of the woman in the ad.

chocolate picture, original ad

The advertisement above, which I created, is a response to this ad campaign and to this trend in advertising. Rather than objectify the woman’s body, it attempts to depict a real life situation, and appeal to real women, rather than the “Diva” being appealed to in Godiva’s campaign. The woman in the ad is meant to be in a busy office, but as soon as she opens her Godiva chocolate, the workers all disappear, and she is transformed to a tranquil place. Being an ad most working women can relate to, it could be adapted outside of the United States as well, as all over the world women are objectified in advertisements. The ad above pushes back at the stereotypes of women shown in chocolate advertising, and instead of exploiting the female body seeks to show a representation of a real woman to connect with consumers. The ad attempts to connect with “common people” rather than the diva image being portrayed by Godiva and in this way will appeal to a much larger audience. As evidenced by Lundstrom and Sciglimpaglia in their essay “Sex Role Portrayals in Advertising,” advertisements have failed to change along with the cultural trend of women becoming more equal in society, and moving away from traditional gender roles (Lundstrom and Sciglimpaglia). My advertisement seeks to steer away from these traditional gender roles and to portray women as they really are. The ad would also feature a slogan related to the idea that chocolate can be a moment of bliss in a busy day, and when featured with an actual women taking a break from her day rather than a diva, it would go farther with the consumer. The ad also seeks to appeal emotionally to the feeling every person has when they feel overwhelmed and need a break, and attempts to make Godiva the means to that break.

chocolate picture four

Godiva’s “Every Woman is One Part (Go)Diva” campaign represents a much larger trend in chocolate advertisement, which exploits women’s bodies and shows women as lustful and unable to control themselves. While continuing the campaign’s idea that Godiva Chocolate brings with it a moment of bliss, my advertisement steers away from the sex appeal technique and seeks to appeal to the real consumers needing a break in their hectic lives. Although this advertising trend does not seem to be stopping anytime soon, hopefully more and more ads will portray women in a respectable way, rather than as sex objects and divas.

Multimedia Sources

Godiva Advertisement #1: http://www.advertolog.com/godiva/print-outdoor/everywoman-6476105/

Godiva Advertisement #2:https://chocolateclass.files.wordpress.com/2014/04/godiva-response-ad.png

Godiva Advertisement #3:http://www.advertolog.com/godiva/print-outdoor/white-chocolate-6476055/

Works Cited

Cho, Cynthia H. “Godiva Appeals to the Diva Within.” WSJ. 13 Sept. 2004. Web. 6 Apr. 2015.

Lundstrom, William J., and Donald Sciglimpaglia. “Sex Role Portrayals in Advertising.” Journal of Marketing Vol. 41.No. 3 (1977): 72-79. Print.

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


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