Take a look at this Cadbury’s ‘Only the best cocoa from Ghana goes into making a Bournville’ advertisement:
Am I the only one who thinks this advertisement is a metaphor for racism and actually glorifies it? Look at the situation being set – A white man in an old-worldly suit, a fastidious accent scrutinizing a dark-coloured object (a coffee bean). A group of black men whose dress and body language indicate a much lower economic and social strata.
It hit me right between the eyes when I first saw the ad, but I thought I might have been imagined things. Then the ad moved to the next step. The black men crowd around the table, waiting with bated breath for the white man’s scrutiny, until he pronounces his judgement,
The object of his derision, ostensibly a coffee bean (!!) whimpers and sheds a large tear. It gets even more appalling. The white man looks confused and says,
“Tell him I’m sorry.”
The black men look embarrassed until one of the younger men tosses it off the table and grins around.
This advertisement has been on air for a few months. I’m both appalled and bewildered by the fact that there’s been so little talk about it and that it continues to air its terribly offensive stance into our homes every day. What has Cadbury’s got against black people? And how are they allowed to get away with this?
Dark chocolate has been ruined for life, in my eyes. I used to be a Bournville fan. But if this is what it means to ‘earn a Bournville’, I’ll stick to being ordinary and treating human beings like human beings.
Update 1: Sumant sent me this article by Nisha Susan for Tehelka. I wasn’t aware of the issues in Ghana over cocoa, when I wrote the post. Sumant’s comment and this article only add to my conviction.
Update 2: A friend sent in a link to a Facebook Note. In it, the writer addresses both Cadbury’s & Ogilvy (The agency that created the campaign). In the discussion that follows, the writer & some of his associates draft a complaint to ASCI. Note however, that this discussion happened in August 2011 and as of January 2012, the advertisement is still on air.
- Cadbury’s Bournville ad campaign – An imperialistic disaster
- If It Is Sweet (link courtesy Sumant)
- Bournville: I do not want to earn it (link courtesy Neha)