Chocolate and romance go together, most people would agree. A strong argument can be made that chocolate is an aphrodisiac as there are many ties between chocolate and romance in history. The Aztecs may have been the first on record to believe that chocolate had sex inducing properties. The Aztec emperor Montezuma was claimed to consume goblets of chocolate in copious amount to stimulate his amorous energy. Casanova, known as the “world’s greatest lover”, touted chocolate to increase his romantic desires. Myths and stories aside, the modern chocolate industry has been at the forefront to remind us of not only the romantic traits of chocolate, but also how it’s the one sweet treat a women cannot resist.
Advertisements are made of young women satisfying the desire of sexual pleasure by tearing the foil off a piece of chocolate, closing her eyes, taking a bite and wanting more as it melts on the lips. Unfortunately, sexualized representations in chocolate advertising are so common that consumers have adapted such depiction. Chocolate has been portrayed as an “intoxicant possessing the power to comfort, reward and satisfy sexual desires (Fahim, 2010).” In particular, the sexual desire is feminized.
Chocolate takes many forms: Think about bars, kisses, chunks, fudges, syrups, malts, ice cream, cakes, and shakes. But it also takes the form of inspiration for other products. Such products exploit the use of chocolate as a fulfillment for sexual desires. Axe, the men’s grooming product, came out with chocolate-inspired products called the “Dark Temptation”. The crux of the advertisement is that if girls like chocolate, they will like a guy who smells like chocolate. Heavy emphasis was placed on the “irresistible” nature of chocolate as a tool to attract “needy” women. I proposed an advertisement where the concept of “dark” and “irresistible” is replaced with something more appropriate.
“Years of advertising have left the impression Axe is all about sex (Neff, 2014).”
The following advertisement (2008) is from Axe’s marketing campaign of its new product “Dark Temptation”. The advertisement depicts a white male who turns into a chocolate man after using the Axe’s Dark Temptation spray. He then walks on the street where young white women get sexually attracted towards him. He is shown in different areas where women gather to bite and lick his body. The advertisement features a “chocolate man” besieged by sex and chocolate crazed females. The advertisement emphasizes the total transformation of an “ordinary” male into an “attractive idol” of female masses. The “chocolate man” is seen as smiling with open eyes, suggesting that he approves of this behavior of women getting attracted towards him. Although the advertisement is about a male fragrance and is not exclusively about chocolate, it clearly depicts how chocolate is viewed in the Western society. The advertisement depicts the idea that chocolate is irresistible, and Axe has developed a cologne that is as irresistible as chocolate.
The following still images have been taken from the video:
In this image, “chocolate man” is sitting in a movie theatre while two females are licking his cheeks. One point to be noted here is the normal behavior of all males sitting behind. This again depicts the desire of chocolate being feminized.
In this image, girls working out at the gym stop their workout as they see the chocolate man. This is depicting the concept of chocolate as woman’s guilty pleasure.
Throughout the video and other advertisements (such as shown above), women are shown as “irrational” without any other feelings besides orgasmically enjoying the presence of chocolate. The message of each of these advertisements couldn’t be clearer: “use Axe and get laid. Repeatedly, by different women (Lindstrom, 2011).”
Axe heavily emphasized on the “dark” and “irresistible” nature of the chocolate. The use of the phrase “dark temptation” is interesting in this advertisement as it suggests that a male should seek the “dark” characteristics (evident by the chocolate man) in order to gain the attention of white women (evident by the point that all women in the advertisement were white). Emphasis was also placed on the “irresistible” nature of the chocolate and that of a women. The phrase “irresistible” suggests that women cannot control their desire for chocolate/sexual pleasure and will always find an excuse for it.
The primary objective of the proposed advertisement is to challenge the “dark” and “irresistible” nature of chocolate and its association with women.
The phrase “dark” was replaced with “pure” suggesting that any temptation that should occur after smelling the fragrance should be natural. Furthermore, removing “dark” takes away the notion of black male bodies as hyper-masculine objects. As mentioned earlier, the phrase “irresistible” was used in the old advertisement to suggest that women cannot control their desire. The phrase “irresistible” was replaced with “pleasant” thus making an attempt to remove any sexual association with chocolate.
The one problem with the new advertisement, however, is that it does not address the basic problem of associating chocolate as an intoxicant possessing the power to satisfy sexual desire, especially that of female. Perhaps the problem is not only with the advertising companies portraying such image of women but rather its wide spread. Chocolate’s association with love has been attributed to the cultural practices of receiving chocolate on Valentine’s Day. However, it seems to me that chocolate is pleasurable simply because it is delicious. Chocolate’s association with love and sex is propagated by the chocolate marketing.
“Romance and Chocolate.” Majesticgardenscom RSS. N.p., n.d. Web. 08 Apr. 2016. <http://majesticgardens.com/romance-and-chocolate/>.
UNILEVER – AXE – DARK TEMPTATION: http://www.jortatamaki.com/axe-dark-temptation/
Axe Dark Temptation: http://guiahombres.com/axe-dark-temptation-la-gama-completa-que-huele-a-chocolate/