Thursday, 25 June 2015

I Miss Dawn French in Chocolate Ads

I can't remember a time when there wasn't a fair amount of hullaballoo about the kind of women used in advertising. Whatever they're promoting, they're usually models of some description designed to make the target viewer either want to be her or want to bang her. Using these idealised and, when in print form, airbrushed women doesn't make for a realistic advert.

It's just something I've become used to.

But it's also something I don't really understand. I think a really good example of this is in chocolate advertising.

A lot of chocolate adverts make it out to be a luxury item that beautiful, successful women indulge in from time to time. And that's great. Really, chocolate should be a luxury item. It's not the kind of thing you can just eat and eat and eat and not have to deal with some consequences. Presenting it as such is probably for the best.

But that doesn't make for fun advertising.

So they make it sexy, they make it naughty. They, like most other advertisers, show a typically attractive-shaped woman enjoying it in a sometimes worryingly sexual way. They're enjoying it almost too much.

Flake ad, 1991
I understand that the idea is that viewers will want to be that successful, attractive woman who still allows herself indulgences from time to time, so why wouldn't they pick that same choice of luxury sweet?

But none of them have ever resonated with me. Those adverts have never been the reason I have chosen a particular brand of chocolate over any other. Largely because I don't tend to pick my food based on advertising anyway. But also because all those very similar adverts don't make an impact on me. I care so litte about those stuck up bitches who treat chocolate like masturbation.

For a chocolate ad to impress me, it should make me feel like chocolate makes me feel. Yeah, it's an indulgence, so after I've had some I feel satisfied and happy.

Kind of like I feel after the Dawn French Terry's Chocolate Orange adverts.

They were a special kind of clever.

They used a woman who didn't look like a model. It wasn't an unattainable goal to be like her one day. She looked like a normal woman, who enjoyed chocolate enough to have the authority to comment on what good chocolate. She looked happy, too, with her Chocolate Orange. She didn't treat chocolate like a dirty little secret. She treated it like something that enhanced her quality of life.

In those ads, at least.

And they were funny. Which is probably why I remember them so vividly from my childhood. I like funny things a lot. I haven't seen an advert for anything that I've enjoyed quite so much in recent years. What makes it good advertising is simply that I remember it so well, and still find it funny, so long after it was broadcast. I have fond memories of the Terry's Chocolate Orange ad from when I was seven years old.

It helps that I really like Dawn French anyway. But I could also identify with it, especially as a chubby kid who did horde chocolate when I had it.

There are simple reasons I still like this ad. Largely because there's not a lot like it any more.

It's an advert that shows how real people treat real things and can still make its product look good.

No comments:

Post a Comment