I was walking through Dublin a few weeks ago and saw this advert on the side of a bus stop. I stopped, I stared, I felt sick just looking at it. “Taste like this feels”....
I felt an anger coming up inside me. I haven’t felt that angry at you as a company since you were allowed to sponsor the London Olympics. I looked at it knowing that in Ireland and UK right now we have an obesity epidemic of epic proportions, that up and down the country hundreds of thousands of people are being told they are type 2 diabetic. That two-thirds of adults are overweight or obese. That our young children are growing up an overweight generation, the consequences of this as adults are as yet unknown.
Working as a specialist in emotional eating and long term weight loss- I have had people cry in front of me, I have had strangers call me up and cry down the phone that they just cannot seem to stop eating. I have had Mothers who have put on 5-6 stone in the space of a few years, while a child has been sick or when they were feeling down. It is comfort eating and emotional eating that means people eat when they are not hungry, and some people are particularly susceptible to those emotional food connections. I looked at it knowing the research that has gone into finding how to pair an emotional response with a product: as seen in ‘Coca-Colas: taste the feeling’ and ‘open happiness’ adverts. All you big food companies are doing it now, because it works.
If you can unconsciously link a feeling with a product, particularly a food then people are much more likely to purchase it. Of all the emotional adverts I have seen over these past few years, this is the worst yet. The most cynical. I looked at it knowing the cynical advertisers who sat round a board room and came up with this... I imagine:
“So women are our main target audience here...we want to repackage the dairy buttons as something adults can enjoy as well”
“Ok...so how do we reach them? What do women already love?”
“And whats the best time of day with the kids?
“Quiet time with the kids, reading them a story at night when things have settled down”
“Ok good….im loving it...and what does ‘Mum’ do after the kids go to bed?”
“Mum makes herself a cup of tea, shes tired, shes had a hard day, she wants a wee lift so she goes to the cupboard and takes out a packet of….
“Dairy milk buttons”
High fives all round eh??!
Really Cadburys. How do you sleep at night?
I try to imagine the same picture only with a Dad in the picture, but it just doesnt work the same does it? Why? Because ever since the days of the ‘Flake’ chocolate has always been relentlessly marketed at women, it’s something they ‘love’ we love to tell them it is a craving they struggle with. But when its a mans ‘bar’ like Yorkie or Snickers its advertised completely differently isn’t it?
And of course, as shown in the other picture- when you want to market at my 7 year old niece, it is all fun animal shapes and colours isn’t it? Because you know that’s what her little brain will respond best to.
How dare you take the most precious time a mother has with her kids and ‘package it’ to sell her more sugar that she doesn’t need.
So what happens next? Let me tell you, although you already know. That taste of the chocolate gets linked unconsciously to that happy contented feeling with the kids. Mums head is busy, she is looking after everyone else and under pressure in work, feeling tired and her mind says “hey what about a wee lift? What about that nice chocolate taste?”
And I know Cadburys, I know that all you care about is your bottom line, I don’t expect you to care about your customers beyond the money you can make out of them. I would say that since you have been bought over by KRAFT standards are slipping...You seem to have gone down the line of stack em’ high and sell em cheap cheap cheap... (hello cream egg). Your chocolate tastes like cooking chocolate now.
But this is the cheapest shot I have ever seen.
And I know nothing will change from just this one letter, but I just want you to know that I know what you are up to. I want to tell you how angry I am at you, because many women, many mothers, sisters, mums, friends, Aunties struggle with their weight and this undermines their efforts and is designed to get into their brain in a way they won’t even realise. It is designed to get them to eat emotionally. I want you to know that my clients and their health are much more important that your bottom line. I hope that one day the Government to take obesity seriously and help them by severely regulating the junk food industry. I want proper regulation for companies as unscrupulous as you. I want people not to be bombarded with sugar in various forms every time they set foot in a shop or a garage.
And I want people to now who eat emotionally to know that their unconscious mind will try to tell them that chocolate means contentment, happiness, a wee lift, a buzz, a treat…
But I want to remind them it is just:
“Milk, sugar, Cocoa Mass,Cocoa butter, Vegetable fats, Palm & Shea, emulsifiers, E422, and Flavourings”
And that list of cheap ingredients, don’t even come close to the precious moments that they have with their children.
That feeling is not for sale.