Death by Chocolate: a phrase used by many to describe a pleasurable act of suicide. The phraseology associates infinite mountains of rich chocolate-covered delicacies with the ability to gorge upon them until the “sweet” kiss of death. In these Cadbury Crème Egg commercials, aired in the UK in the mid- to late 2000’s, the finality of a sweet death is all but denied to the beatific eggs, as their “life-goal” is to expose their goo or “guts” before their life-span (season) ends. To be certain, the Crème Egg commercials equate consumption with suicide, euthanasia, and pleasure, while my created advertisement engenders the eggs to create a life-cycle akin with Easter and Spring’s natural state.
The suicidal eggs are always shown against a white background with the implements for their destruction already at hand. All that is left for them is to remove their inhibitions (their colored foil wrapper) and to hop to their “goo”-ification. The suicidal eggs explicitly say “goo.” The slogan “Here Today, goo tomorrow” indicates that Cadbury’s Crème Egg season has a hyper-accelerated timetable (Jan 1 – April 4), as well as a subversive new ad campaign (“Crème Egg”, 2016). My advertisement attempts to create the same effect: the accelerated sales timeline, with a white background, yet no tools for destruction are present; the egg has revealed its “goo” in the form of a hatched chick, thus ending the Crème Egg season with the advent of spring.
Cadbury’s advertisement relies on several emotional responses, each of which illicit a desire to watch and enable the exposure of the “goo.” The most shallow of these emotions is humor, amplified by watching the eggs commit their “goo”-ey suicides utilizing household objects; thus they can be recreated by the consumers should they also wish to laugh at the mess. Eggs are unable to use tools or manipulate their surroundings, which elicits another emotion: compassion. The consumer, being aware of the Crème eggs’ inherent immobility, feels compelled to alleviate the eggs’ suffering (suffering from their loss of “goo”). When a consumer eats a Crème egg, they commit an act of euthanasia, a mercy killing of the egg, whose desire for death/”goo” cannot be self-satisfied (Nordqvist, 2016). The final slogan “Here Today, goo tomorrow” indicates the immediacy of the Crème eggs’ plight (“Here Today, Goo Tomorrow”), which is epitomized in the act of suicide; this engenders panic. Panic motivates consumers to gorge themselves en masse upon the Crème eggs before they lose their “goo” (and die). Joyfulness is then finally enjoyed by the egg, at death, and by the consumer, upon the facilitating of the egg’s death.
My advertisement creates rather than destroys the Crème egg. “Goo,” having been synonymous with death and loss, is now birth and permanence. It encompasses only those emotions which are associated with transformation and renewal. The joy felt upon the sight of the hatched chick is not the joy of immediate gratification upon consumption, but rather the acknowledgement of the time to come outside of the realm of the picture: spring is coming and winter is over, raising the hopes of consumers. This raising of hope will also bring about the realization that eggs are cyclical in nature: consumers need merely wait until the next Crème egg season to have their fill once again. The finality is not in death but in life. This renewal or resurrection can be easily paralleled with Christianity’s Easter narrative, as Christ’s Resurrection is merely days away from the end of the Cadbury Crème Egg Season (this year Easter fell on March 27) (Hillerbrand, 2015). Spring is a time of renewal and of natural joy, not the depressive suicidal ideations of winter that Cadbury proposes. The Crème Egg season is the harkening of spring; one must wonder then, why is Cadbury romanticizing death without the possibility of a life-continuum? Another narrative inherent in my advertisement is: who came first, the chicken or the egg? Eggs by their nature are the limitless possibilities of potential life and a egg hatching is merely the propagation of cyclical existence.
The word “goo” is central to the Crème eggs’ suicidal narrative. Focus is not drawn to the chocolate coating but the “Crème” filling, which is just colored fondant without any milk product (“Crème Egg”, 2016). Crème is defined simply as a sweet liquor of a viscous nature, without the need for having dairy incorporated into the blending (“Crème”, 2016) . Yet this is not the primary reason the focus is pulled away from the chocolate and towards the crème-goo. The goo is the sweetest part of the Crème egg and thus what will ultimately produce the joy in both the egg and the consumer. The chocolate is merely a container with the sole purpose to hold the goo or “soul” of the egg until the moment of consumption. The Crème eggs say “goo” constantly to focus the viewer on the eggs’ innards (even when they have yet to be exposed) so that the explosions of “goo” seem eroticized and desired rather than horrific and traumatizing. Finally, the multitude of suicides illuminates the ideation of death and to that end, the demographic (Martin, 2016), ages 15- 35 approx., which is most drawn to suicidal ideation, would then be most drawn to these grim reapers of chocolate advertisements.
Britain has a long history of subversive chocolate advertisement campaigns making the unerotic the erotic and the distasteful the most succulent; this is similarly illustrated by Rowntree’s Honeybunch advertisements, which attempted the removal of racial fear and replaced it with safe inter-racial interaction (Martin, 2016). Cadbury’s suicidal eggs are the symptom of the much larger food disease which grips the stomachs and minds of many food advertisement viewers and consumers. Suicidal food consumption is apart of the subversive advertising narrative that engenders sympathetic eating, dangerous overconsumption, and a finite existential nature of food. The finality of existence is a lie told through advertisements to push immediate gratification in fear of future existential ambiguity. Consumption is cyclical. Food’s final goal is not to die but to live and impart its life through the absorption of nutrients; a cyclical existence, the longue durée.
The interpretations expressed in this blog are subjective to the blogger and not necessarily the original intention of the Cadbury advertisements, for more information concerning the “original” intent see this site’s video (“Here Today, Goo Tomorrow”).
“1971: Creme Egg Is Launched.” The Story. Accessed April 04, 2016. https://www.cadbury.co.uk/the-story#1800-1850.