Chocolate is often considered synonymous to pleasure. Objectively, something as unique and sweet as chocolate is quite pleasurable to consume and savor, but as chocolate developed a social and societal importance, certain connotations and implications were associated with the food entirely. Any person who has seen a handful of chocolate advertisements within the past ten years can agree that chocolate entirely is geared more toward woman.
In an advertisement by Dove chocolate which originally aired in 2013, the sexist narrative created around the very existence of chocolate can be interpreted and identified quite apparently. The advertisement, titled “senses”, opens to a woman in what appears to be her brassiere, dramatic stage lighting illuminates the woman against a milk chocolate colored textured vignette backdrop, sensual slow jazz music with a soulful female voice plays as the narrator speaks in an intimate hushed whisper. The spoken content of the advertisement is quite short, but is highlighted by the line, “Only a chocolate this pure, can be this silky, and make you savor, sigh, melt.” As the narrator relays this line, the woman can be seen biting into a piece of chocolate with her eyes closed, breaking into a smile immediately after, while the woman in the advertisement slowly caresses her body with her hands, a woman softly says “aah!” as the narrator says “sigh”, and a woman says “ooh!” as the narrator says “melt”. After the shot of the woman biting into chocolate, a long silk, chocolate colored sheet begins to wrap around and caress the woman, and the camera highlights shots of her bare back and thigh. The advertisement is only about 30 seconds long, but the implications of what is displayed in the advertisement reveals more than what is presented on the surface of the advertisement.
Objectively, the advertisement seems to imply that chocolate is only for woman, the narration, layered voice, and singer are all female. The advertisement physically showed traditionally feminine and sensual features of the female form, all while a female narrator describes what Dove chocolate can supposedly make you do as a result of consuming it. The advertisement plays heavily on the emotions surrounding pleasure, insinuating that chocolate can offer a relief unlike any other. Chocolate is a food. Just as peanut butter is made by grinding peanuts and adding salt, or just as jam is made by reducing strawberries over heat and adding sugar, it is a food that we consume for nourishment and enjoyment, regardless of gender. All average humans are gifted with all 5 senses, and while the fine tuning of these senses may vary from individual to individual, to assume or imply that any one food is better suited for one gender or another is ludicrous. Most modern chocolate advertisements hypersexualization of woman and the over exaggeration of chocolate’s slim-to-none “aphrodisiac” effect is misleading and contrived. Honestly, would you see a half naked woman indulging in all of her senses enveloped in silk in an advertisement for strawberry jam or peanut butter?
My Alternative Advertisement
Chocolate exists as any other fruit on this Earth, it can be harvested, processed, eaten, and enjoyed by any creature that can access it. From it’s early beginnings in Central America among the Mayans, to modern day society, chocolate has acquired many attributes, both in it’s physical harvesting and production, and also in how it is perceived by society because of certain implications placed on chocolate in advertising. Because chocolate is so heavily processed, the average person has no idea about the step by step process by which one arrives at the finished product of a Hershey bar. My advertisement was created with the intention to present chocolate as it is rarely seen, as a fruit on a tree. In an attempt to be clever and witty, I compare a Theobroma Cacao to the “tree of life”, and additionally state that it a gift from nature and should be enjoyed by all. My response to the advertisement by Dove would be to take the gender of of chocolate all together. Chocolate can be seen as a romantic gift from one partner to another, seeing as most people enjoy confections, but the implications such as a woman can lose herself in her indulgence to chocolate, or that a man is supposed to buy chocolate for his wife on certain occasions, is purely and solely a result of advertising. I feel that an advertisement should highlight the best aspects of a product, and try to sell a commodity based on it’s merit, not on baseless, empty jargon spoken in a hushed whisper accompanied by smooth jazz. Although these advertisements somehow manage to work, seeing as they have been so prevalent, the implications of gender regarding chocolate as a food really hold no base in logic or fact.
Dove Chocolate. Youtube. N.p., n.d. Web. 7 Mar. 2016. <https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SwPwQ4S4op8>.
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