Wednesday, 20 January 2010

Chocolate language

Gadjo and Brit have been deconstructing chocolate discourse, interrogating it for deeper meanings. But what strikes me about your modern chocolate bar is actually how very few words are now used to sell the stuff.

Bars of confectionary, just like old-fashioned comedians, always used to have catchphrases. But, just as in the world of comedy, these no longer appear to be a necessary accompaniment.

This development is presumably informed by some terribly clever marketing insight. But it seems to me to represent something of a loss: all those little chocolate sub-brands must have just a little less purchase on the minds of the younger generation than they did on mine. Token of this is that I can immediately reel off a dozen or more chocolate bar strap-lines (is that what they're called?). Some of them have strong associations:

Crunchie: "That Friday feeling" [From a chocolate bar? Yeah, right.]

Fry's Turkish Delight: "Full of Eastern Promise" [i.e. "Get your scimitar, you've pulled", says dusky bint.]

Cadbury's Fudge: "A finger of fudge is just enough..." [No it's not.]

Flake: "Only the crumbliest, flakiest milk chocolate..." [This phrase still evokes the funny feeling I started getting when I began to notice the Flake advert at the age of about thirteen.]

Mars: "Helps you work, rest and play" [Wholesome, boring.]

Bounty: "A taste of paradise" [Semi-naked women on beach, not boring.]

And so on. As far as I know none of these are in use any more and the brands seem somehow stripped of personality as a consequence.

It may well have something to do with them no longer being advertised on TV (I assume this is the case but, ahem, I don't watch a lot of ITV). But why aren't they? Has the market changed in some significant way? Perhaps they're advertised elsewhere now. Online?

All very mysterious and, I feel, a minor but sad diminution in the gaiety of the nation.


Jackart said...

They're not advertised because of the obesity nazis?

Gaw said...

If so, that seems to be working well!

worm said...

Yorkie! It's not for poofs!

part of the general idiocy of the advertising/ branding world really, they have to be seen to innovate all the time, which means they have to tinker with things that wern't broken, and persuade their clients that they need to market the idea/brand of their product rather than the product itself

In 5 years time they'll just 'rediscover' those adverts, run them again to mass approval, and pat each other on the back for their brilliance.

Brit said...

My take on it is that the select few brands are now so strong that anything other than the name is superfluous. This is why instead of coming up with new brands with selling points, they introduce spin-off versions: Mint Aero; Mint, Chunky and Peanut Chunky Kit Kat etc.

Cadbury's is the biggest user of this with all the Dairy Milks - even incorporating Caramel into the family.

malty said...

The more revolting the confection the higher it's television exposure.
Carrera Rocher, pure pretension in a sweetie paper, tastes like lizards puke.

The Swiss of course, sociopaths to a man, or woman, bring us Toblerone, molar masher supreme, sent many a choking Brit to an early grave.

'Melts in the mouth, not in the hand' I used to think 'no it doesn't, not enough time'

Gaw said...

Worm: I look forward to that paradigm-smashing moment in a few years' time.

Brit: That can't be the whole answer. After all, 'everyone's a fruit and nut cake...'

Malty: Ha! Lizard's puke is perfect.

Also I've always thought the cleverest thing about Toblerone is that they fill it with things that look just like fillings (white, gold, etc.) making it more difficult to ascertain whether it's just removed a couple of your own.

I know a very rude (true) story about Minstrels But like ToE, this is a family blog so I will forebear. (BTW if they did a white chocolate Minstrel would it make the sweet racist?).

worm said...

a sweet racist? like the queen mum?

Anonymous said...

Ambassador, with these Ferrero Rocher, you are really spoiling us! [giggle giggle simper]

My father, in addition to owning about 30 radios, also had stockpiles of Ferrero Rocher chocolates, for no known cause.

Gaw said...

I suspect that Ferrero Rocher, rather like Stella Artois, is one of those fur-coat-no-knickers brands that pretend to poshness but actually sell themselves cheaply and in volume. Perhaps your old chap couldn't resist this ruse?

Gadjo Dilo said...

"Take it easy with Cadbury's Caramel" - was it true that the sexy Cadbury's Caramel rabbit was voiced by Miriam Margoles? You couldn't get away with that anymore.

Anonymous said...

i suspect that's it, Gaw - he would also return from the shops with multiple overcoats from Burton's, because they were on sale. His house looks like Dave Ferry's from JFK.

Anonymous said...

A pedant writes: confectionEry

And whatever happened to the Milk Tray man? "And all because the lady loves Milk Tray".

Perhaps he has been arrested for stalking women and leaving cheap boxes of chocs behind after causing criminal damage to their windows.

Gaw said...

Gadjo: I associate the Caramel rabbit with my sexual awakening (ahem). So to learn the voice was provided by MM would really be quite shattering.

Elb: At least he had lots of pockets to store his Rochers.

Anon: It's nice to be pedantee rather than pedanter for a change. I think the MT man badly injured himself by landing on his hair style.

Brit said...

It was defo Miriam, I'm afraid Gaw. She also did all the female dubbed voices in Monkey.

Stephen said...

Very true about the funny feeling Cadbury's Flake Adverts used to arouse in adolescent boys. The one with the pretty girl painting a watercolour in a field being my particular moment of "awakening".

The Caramel rabbit was also a formative experience, even knowing Margoyle's provided the voice doesn't dampen my enthusiasm for women with slightly protruding teeth.

Gaw said...

Stephen: As far as the bunny was concerned I was more of a tail man myself.