Romancing Chocolate

Mary Ellen Kuhn

Clearing off shelves recently, I happened across a videocassette tape that featured a series of Taster’s Choice instant coffee commercials made during the 1990s. If you’re a diehard romantic, you may recall the commercials, which detailed the romantic misadventures of two attractive, sophisticated 40-something neighbors, who share a mutual attraction for one another and a fondness for Taster’s Choice. Their relationship unfolded in serialized 30-second spots replete with frothy dialog and not-at-all subtle Taster’s Choice mentions. The spots helped boost Taster’s Choice sales, and, like many women, I suspect, I found their combination of wit and romance irresistible.
Which brings me to my point: If it’s possible to bring that sort of aura to the lowly instant coffee category, imagine the possibilities for chocolate, a product that so many people already feel passionate about. I’ve been noticing some great examples of chocolate advertising lately. There’s a gorgeous, highly atmospheric print ad for Ghirardelli chocolate. It shows a glamorous-looking woman enjoying some Ghirardelli chocolate with a view of the Golden Gate Bridge in the background. Then there’s the campaign for Nestlé Treasures, with a tag line that proclaims, “It’s like a day at the spa for your taste buds.” The advertising builds on the clever Treasures product names — Renew (Dark Chocolate Truffle), Revive (Cappuccino Truffle), and Relax (Caramel Truffle). I was also wowed by the tag line for Kraft’s Toblerone that I spotted on a truck panel one day during my commute. “Made exclusively for everyone,” read the slogan. What a brilliant way to communicate that, yes, this is a truly special product, but not so fancy that you shouldn’t enjoy it any time, any place. The marketers behind these campaigns deserve kudos for so successfully celebrating our emotional connection to chocolate. I would like to see even more marketing and advertising in this vein.  
Worthy works
On a more serious note, Confectioner’s “Chocolate Report” this year focuses on some of the initiatives to benefit cocoa farmers supported by the World Cocoa Foundation, the Rainforest Alliance, and individual companies including Cadbury-Schweppes, Kraft Foods and Blommer Chocolate, among many, many others. Most of these programs take a multi-faceted approach to the challenges disadvantaged growers face. They’re not high-profile, nor do they deliver quick fixes, but these thoughtfully conceived, socially responsible ventures already have begun to make a difference in the lives of the participants. And, in this season of light and hope, that truly is cause for celebration.
Best wishes from all of us at Confectioner for a happy, meaningful and productive new year!