Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Cadbury Bournville's ad campaign - An imperialistic disaster

The new Cadbury Bournville advertisement features a white man checking cocoa seeds in front of a African family that supposedly produced it. On rejection the seed starts crying. And well his imperialist buyer (The English guy) says, "He is nothing...Please tell him I am sorry". An old African man in the family looks perplexed, and a young man in the African family simply throws the seed away from the table. The ad ends with "Only the best Cocoa from Ghana goes into making a Bournville... Maybe that's why you have to earn it...".



This British mumbo-jumbo is a reflection into past era of imperialism that was characterized by economic dominance and exploitation. The economy of Ghana is primarily sustained by Cocoa and gold. By projecting "English dominance" and an advertisement that portrays a rich English middle aged person, a crying cocoa seed, and a poor African family, What are you trying to project? It's a complete recipe for disaster.

Viewers of this ad on YouTube have shared a similar sentiment. One comment in particular reads,
"I see how slavery and Brit colonialism has been portrayed as an acceptable part of our not so glorious past. This ad is in bad taste and lacks morality and broadcast ethics."
Presently according to marketing practice, it's account is maintained by Ogilvy & Mather. Looking at the star studded agency I expect better creatives. Positioning the brand as "You have to earn a Bournville" is much better. It is catchy, and signifies the importance of chocolate and gifting it on good occasions. I don't see a point in telling the world where you source your Cocoa from and digging back old and ugly graves of imperialism and colonization.

Bournville is a model village in England and is popularly known for its connections with the Cadbury family.The chocolate is great, rather awesome. Despite some really good work done by the Cadbury family to this model village and being one of the major employers there I really doubt the effectiveness of this ad campaign. Its imperialistic tone can act as a major turn-off.