The chocolate bar’s advertisement highlights a long standing association between gender and chocolate. In this picture, the woman is portrayed as being covered in luscious, and smooth, chocolate and giving a very seductive look. The pose is also meant to ignite some temptation, further accentuating the message of aesthetic appeal of attraction and sexyness. This picture is conveying the message that a woman needs this chocolate soap in order to feel sexy, and therefore attract men. The chocolate covering, as well as the words used in the advertisement (“chocolate seduction”, “looking deliciously gorgeous”) are emphasizing the aesthetic appeal of chocolate. Chocolate is no longer something to indulge your taste buds, but rather your visual input as well. The ad is playing off of its ability to make one feel good when eating it, to expanding it and making one feel good when looking at it. More specifically, it plays on the long standing belief that women need to make themselves attractive for men, and that they need to use any measure at their disposal to portray an image of sexyness and sex appeal. Chocolate is linked to pleasure and satisfaction, so by using a female model, the ad is targeting both men’s and women’s desire for the other sex.
For our rebranding, we have decided to focus on the health benefits of cocoa butter for skin. Instead of emphasizing how sexy one would feel after using the chocolate bar, we are making this ad into a health campaign. First, we have chosen a picture depicting a man and a woman (since we want to target both sexes, not just one who do not give an impression of being attracted to one another. Their bodies are not posed in a sexy way, they do not look at one another longingly, nor are they touching one another. By portraying an image of neutrality, we are not separating the genders, nor are we playing on the “importance” of sexism and how “significant” it is for an ad to have sublime messages of attraction. We wanted to emphasize the skin benefits one would get, for oneself, if they used this product. The new advertisement would read “Chocolate Lux: giving your skin a new, healthy look” because we want both men and women to use this product for themselves, in order to feel good in their own skin. With today’s rising health campaigns, rebranding this advertisement our way would have more impact on the way gender and chocolate are portrayed, and would help start the shift towards a more neutral message.
What is fascinating, however, is the long standing relationship between gender and chocolate. From the beginning of 20th century, chocolate advertisements have been targeting women in order to boost their sales (Robertson). In the 1930s, the ads were focusing on women as housewives, followed by seeing them as mothers. “In one set of adverts from 1946-47, the housewife is represented as a ‘magical’ creature” (Robertson, 21). A decade later, women started being objectified as sexual objects, a trend that is still running today. So it’s no wonder that, in this soap advertisement, the woman is being used to boost sales for both genders. Additionally, if one were to search for “women and chocolate”, a myriad of articles would try to explain why the female gender has an almost intrinsic need for this sweet treat. “Entire books have been written about the subject of women and chocolate cravings, surveys have shown that chocolate is the most craved food among American women” (McQuillan). Entire books have been written, apparently, including psychology articles (like the one cited previously). It is highly doubtful that this much energy has been put into writing books about men and chocolate, and psychology studies need to be done, it seems like, in order to further understand why women have such a deep connection with chocolate. Instead of focusing on such topics, the gender bias would be diminished if advertisements would stop perpetuating this unjustified relationships.
McQuillan, S. (2014, October 23). Women and Chocolate. Retrieved from https://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/cravings/201410/women-and-chocolate
Robertson, Emma. Chocolate, Women and Empire: A Social and Cultural History. Manchester, UK: Manchester University Press, 2009.