The story of chocolate has not always been sweet, is has also a bitter side. The industry of chocolate treats has a past of racist advertisement. The most formative examples are the chocolate hands in Belgium (Dean, 2016) and the Conguitos from Spain (onafrica, 2010). Those stories are already hard to swallow but there are others dominant stories routed in Germany. The treat witch I am referring to is a waffle based treat, with a foam center made of egg whites and a chocolate covering.
In this particular case to understand the critique it’s important to get a little taste from the bitter history of the treat to understand the relevance of the advertisement completely. Hence I will explain shortly the history of the product and then introduce the advertisement of the company Dickmann. Finally I will introduce my personal advertisement based on the prior critique.
In the late 19th century the treat that we consider today as a “Schokokuss” (translated: Chocolate kiss) was produced in France for the very first time (Kindt, 2003). The original name was “tête de nègre” (translated: Negro head). In Germany the treat first appeared in 1892 in Leipzig. Today you can still find evidence for the appearance of the name in various Cafes, which still use the old name of the treat. One will find “Café Mohrenkopf” (translated: Coffe Negro head) in Zürich, Munich and Vienna (Cafe Mohrenkopf, 2016).
Soon after the appearance of the treat in the German-speaking areas the name was changed to “Negerkuss” (translated: Negro Kiss). Sadly that change didn’t happen because of a possible brutal association of eating a person’s head. The real reason was most likely a translation mistake related to the filling of the treat the Baiser, which is in French nothing else but a kiss (Kindt, 2003).
The very friendly looking heads in the outdated advertisement are clearly promoting the treat in a rather bitter way with a strong taste of racism. Nevertheless this advertisement is not to be analyzed since it’s no longer accurate to say “Negerkuss”. This is thanks to a movement in the 70s, which labeled the advertisement as racist enforced the name change in the German speaking society to “Schokokuss” (translated: Chocolate kiss) (Berliner Zeitung, 1997). That is considered to be politically correct. Even the German Dictionary points out that the word “Negerkuss” is grammatically correct but the political correct use is “Schokokuss” (Duden, 2016).
Today there are 70 different producers of the “Schokokuss”. The market leader in Germany is called Dickmann and is the provider of my chosen advertisement.
The advertisement is part of a series related to the product. In the center of the advertisement stands mascot. This mascot is a “Schokokuss” with eyes and extremities wearing a basketball cap. With a happy smile it is in a sweet way promoting the chocolate product. The commercial tries to persuade us with the happy smile and the association that if you buy the product you might also smile. To me that commercial triggers a rather bitter than sweet emotion.
Especially in consideration of the history of the product one could expect a more careful choice of the mascot. The choice to give the product eyes and a smile clearly reminds of a head. In addition the color of the chocolate, which has been related to black people for years gives everyone clearly the association of an Afro-American person. If that wouldn’t be enough already the accountable company decorates this little “guy” with accessories related to Afro-American R’n’B culture like a big golden necklace.
Also the mascot finds itself within a criminal act of spraying graffiti on a wall, which is an illegal act. In relation with the personification of the mascot it makes it obvious what the company assumes about Afro-American people. In addition the name of the Mascot is Dickmann (translated: Big man). So we don’t only have the association with Afro-American people, now it s also with big colored people. In conclusion it appears as if the producer of this chocolate treat haven’t learned from their critiqued past related to racism.
The new advertisement
Rather than portraying anything from the human body I chose a new name and a new association of the sweet. Hence I want to stop the association with kisses or heads or big people. The form, shape and color remind of a flowerpot and easily used in a funny way to advertise the sweet. The phrase “The root of delicious treats” should persuade the customer with the taste of the product and it s quality. The choice of the women was also conscious. She is appropriately dressed and is not promoting the product through a sexual component. The emotion I want the customer to experience is amusement over the presentation. This advertisement is not offensive towards race and therefore clearly the better choice.
Berliner Zeitung. (19. September 1997). Berliner Zeitung online . Abgerufen am 7. April 2016 von Negerkuß oder Schokokuß vom lustvollen Umgang mit einem populären Schaumgebäck Die politisch korrekte süße Sünde: http://www.berliner-zeitung.de/negerkuss-oder-schokokuss—vom-lustvollen-umgang-mit-einem-populaeren-schaumgebaeck-die-politisch-korrekte-suesse-suende-16778926
Cafe Mohrenkopf. (7. April 2016). Cafe Mohrenkopf Restaurant. Abgerufen am 7. April 2016 von http://www.mohrenkopf.info
Dean, C. (21. February 2016). BLOG . Abgerufen am 6. April 2016 von Chocolates as Cultural Blind Spots: Responding to “Civilization”: http://sites.northwestern.edu/akih/2013/02/21/chocolates-as-cultural-blind-spots-responding-to-civilization/
Duden. (7. April 2016). Duden Online. Abgerufen am 7. April 2016 von http://www.duden.de/rechtschreibung/Negerkuss
Kindt, M. (21. March 2003). Von Negerkuss zur Schokolade. Abgerufen am 7. April 2016 von http://www.esskultur.net/lm/negerkuss.html
onafrica. (3. March 2010). Work. Abgerufen am 6. April 2016 von Conguitos: Spanish sweets with an out-of-date image: http://onafrica.org/2010/03/03/bgm1267614467/
Schierle, B. (18. August 2012). Südkurier. Abgerufen am 7. April 2016 von Politisch nicht korrekt: Zigeuner-Soße fällt in Ungnade: http://www.suedkurier.de/nachrichten/panorama/Politisch-nicht-korrekt-Zigeuner-Sosse-faellt-in-Ungnade;art409965,6215925