Advertisement for Marou Chocolate

Marou Chocolate
Marou’s advertisement

Without a tagline, the above advertisement screams out the bean to bar roots of the company behind it. That company, Marou, is a bean-to-bar artisanal chocolate maker based in Vietnam heavily supporting the movement and the ethical sustainable production that goes with it (“Celebrating World Fair”, 2015). This stands out very boldly in their advertisement as shown in the placement of cacao pods directly next to the finished chocolate product encouraging the viewer to think about the origins of the chocolate. The intricate golden etchings on the wrapper exude exclusivity. The vibrant colors of the cacao pods create awareness about the different cacao varieties and nudge a consumer towards recognizing the subtle differences in the taste of each chocolate bar.

The structure of the advertisement places a particular emphasis on the connection between a raw material and the finished product, knowledge of which is completely lost upon our generation. The tips of each cacao pod point to their respective chocolates, emboldening the bean-to-bar and source-to-product idea and welcoming the consumer to ruminate the chocolate bar’s origins. The neat placement of each pod with the chocolate embodies a sense of purity in their product and brings a consumer’s attention to the brand’s origins and their ‘single source’ philosophy. The eye-catching colors of “deep vermillion to ochre yellow, grass green, midnight blue, and flushes of peacock aqua” (Boot, 2012) offer the consumer an opportunity to learn about the different geographical origins of each chocolate bar. The titles of the chocolates, for example ‘Single Origin Ben Tre 78%’, highlight the Vietnamese provinces from which the cacaos originate and display intent to take the consumer on a journey through Vietnam. All these elements, together in the structure of the ad, invoke a strong sense of a bean-to-bar movement and Marou’s commitment to it while maintaining a perception of exclusivity around the product.

Packaging detail
Close up of the packaging

The wrapping of the chocolate strongly elevates the distinctiveness around the product. The intricate lattice pattern reveals a mixture of modernity and tradition raising a consumer’s curiosity. The images as well as traditional etchings of “fruits, flowers, auspicious animals, […], leaves, […], heavenly looking clouds” (Boot, 2012) on the packaging are cues of local influence, which portray the chocolate as a delicacy to be enjoyed by adult consumers. This customary design, perhaps, could also be a way to invoke nostalgia among the Vietnamese diaspora, helping to differentiate the product among its competitors. The rich gold color and the embossing on the wrapper stands as a symbol of wealth and reveals itself as a luxurious product to a socially affluent consumer. The lengths to which Marou goes to achieve this level of sophistication and detail on the packaging shows their commitment and dedication to delivering a world class bean to bar product while promoting the culture of a country less known in the cacao world.

Marou chocolate_my ad
Updated Marou’s ad

In my version of the ad, I decided to emphasize more on the bean to bar movement that the chocolate and the company clearly portray. It is in the intricacies of post-harvest processing of cacao where the delicacies of the flavors are enhanced in a chocolate bar, which unfortunately are not conveyed in the original advert. Chocolate labels are very confusing to consumers who are new to the complexities of today’s chocolate lingo and can become lost in trying to figure out what words really matter to them. The added tagline: ‘Passion. Care. Innovation. A bean to bar chocolate from Vietnam.’ will help the consumer by re-iterating not only the origin of the chocolate but also portraying that the chocolate makers have “push[ed] the boundaries of exploration and experiment[ed] with new techniques to extract the best from their precious consignment of [handpicked] beans” (Baker, 2015). With the tagline, I am ensuring that the processes of sourcing raw materials directly from the farmers, a better compensation for them, building of a direct relationship with the growers and shortening of the value chains do not fall deaf on a consumer’s ears. I intend to appeal to both a socially conscious consumer and one who values fine taste of chocolate.

In both the ads there is a visible effort to shorten the supply chain. With the extensive industrialization of food, an increasing number of us have become unaware of where our food comes from or who produces it. We are now the furthest away from our food source than we have ever been (“How Far Does”). However, a few trade organizations like Fair Trade have worked towards reversing this trend by using effective marketing and labeling. A product with a Fair Trade label stands for:

    “a powerful and positive link between the consumer and producer…it helps consumers understand, and take responsibility for, the role they play” (Reynolds)

The label has brought a new wave of consumers who are not only supporting this movement but also demanding for more transparency where it does not currently exist. Marou tries to achieve this with their single origin labeling providing emphasis on its origin. The ‘Bà Rịa 76% Single Origin Dark Chocolate’ labeling on the package offers transparency to a consumer about the origin of the beans and makes them acutely aware of the source of the chocolate. In my version of the ad, I have emphasized and explained in social conscious terms, the bean to bar movement, in an attempt to bridge the consumer directly with the raw product, farmers and Vietnam.


[1]: “Celebrating World Fair Trade Day, Our Way…” Marou Faiseurs De Chocolate. Marou Chocolate, 14 June 2015. Web. 03 April 2016.

[2]: Boot, Rodney. “Marou chocolate packaging”. Creative Roots. CreativeRoots. 04 Nov. 2012. Web. 03 April 2016.

[3]: Baker, Andrew. “I should cocoa: why we’re all going mad for bean-to-bar chocolate”. The Telegraph. Telegraph Food. 03 Jan 2015. Web. 03 April 2016

[4]: “How Far Does Your Food Travel to Get to Your Plate?”. CUESA Cultivating a Healthy Food System. CUESA. Web. 07 April 2016.

[5]: Reynolds, Laura. Forging New Customer/Producer Links in Fair Trade Coffee Networks . 1st ed. Colorado: Colorado State University, 2016. Web. 4 Apr. 2016.

[6] Digital Image. Ji, Mám. Marou Chocolate. 2012. Web. 1 Apr. 2016.

[7] Digital Image. Vercruysse, Geert. Marou Chocolate Bars. 2012. Web. 1 Apr. 2016.

[8] Digital Image. Khera, Ashira. Marou Advert. 2016. 1 Apr. 2016.


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