Friday, 9 October 2009

New Cadbury advert- Your thoughts?

Do you find this advert offensive? I have been hearing some people like this advert and few don't. I am curious to know why?

From what I can see of the advert it's set in Ghana were cocoa beans are produced, the Cadburys chocolate are showing they now come under Fair Trade standards. This means fairer working conditions for all persons who produce the cocoa beans for their chocolate. It was set in a village were the local people were dancing from what its look like to me expressing happiness.

Do you feel from that we were made to look like a joke? If so why?

As Africans/Caribbean's we are known for our joyful celebratory dances. I didn't find anything funny with that. So where is the offensive? If this was set in Brazil and they were dancing to Samaba music throught the streets of the Favalas, would we find that offensive or exotic and beautiful.

Sometimes the question isn't with the advertisers but your own depiction. As far as I am concern joy and the expression of that is universal to all so why is it when we are shown to be there are further associations. I would like to know what are you seeing?

Please see the extended version below.


  1. I am seeing big-lipped people dancing around a big-lipped 'tribal' mask! This advert does not sit well with me, although I cannot pinpoint why.. It could have been done in a less offensive way.. the concept is not bad.. but the execution reveals deeply rooted stereotypes.. you have said that you would find it to be exotic & beautiful if set in favela.. I guess it depends where we are each coming from.. I've travelled extensively in Africa, Caribbean & S America.. but I wonder how someone who has never left the UK might interpret it?

  2. I see your point, when you say big lipped people can you elaborate?. Are you saying Cadburys have exaggerated this or that they just have big lips?.

    My statement of the exotic in the Favelas was not my personal opinion it was a statement that often times as black people we only see beauty in cultures outside of ourselves and tend to see negative stereotypes in our own when the concept maybe the same.

    I would be intrigued also to see how people who haven't travelled outside of UK would interpret it. But also challenged the significance of that.

  3. I'm saying that the stereotyping here is in line with negative images seen in the US.. big lips, bulging eyes etc.. The mask is main concern.. but they have got people to pull faces that are ridiculous.. what's up with the revolving wigs?

    Whole thing is bit dodgy to me..

    People in UK, esp outside London are just being fed.. certain stereotyped ideas they may have about black people/Africans may be reinforced by this ad.. This is not 'political correctness gone mad' (yawn!)as I've heard people cry.. this is the same reason as to why people don't vote for Rachel on X Factor! We live in a racist society & Cadburys should have more social responsibility.. their Trident ad was axed for being racist..

    I don't think it should be an open question.. if people ARE offended by this ad, don't you think it should be taken off?

    What's the point of it? They've been in Ghana for 100 years! So people are rejoicing now it's fair trade by dancing to Tinny? Don't get it!....

  4. From I am seeing of the mask is that it's made of the cocoa beans to depict African face mask. Plenty of African mask are done in this way. Are they playing on a stereotype of their own features.?? Pulling faces could be slightly a concern but not one of major impact.

    Yes I remember the Trident add. I was one who wrote in to complain. The relevance of the guy having a Jamaican accent running around while people looking at him like he was crazy. The concern with that was there was no reason- it wasn't relatable and it played on several negative stereotypes.

    Granted they have been in Ghana for 100 years and slavery was not long before that. Even so does that mean things cannot change.

    I do appreciate the song done by Tinny, so I enjoy that element of it. No- Cadbury's itself should not rejoice in finally giving fairer worker conditions and pay to there workers, but this company hasn't been and is one of many that have not been for years.

    The concept of fairer trade itself needs to be brought to light as we seem to be comfortable and oblivious to the fact things are still not right in Africa and alot more needs to be done.

    Why don't we start to change first before we anticipate Cadbury's to. Are you buying fairer trade??

  5. I think 'the people' are normally the ones who push & finally force change to come.. these multi-nationals are quite comfortable making their money, let's not be unrealistic about that..

    Do you think your finding the Trident ad offensive, but not this one, is perhaps finding 'beauty in other cultures and negative stereotypes in your own' as you described before? Not a criticism, but a genuine question.. Is it even possible to STEREOTYPE ourselves? I would say it probably isn't. Ghanian masks & carvings are so varied & are designed for a multitude of different purposes.. some do have emphasised features, but I would argue that the variety is too vast to say the mask depicted by cadburys is 'standard'.

    Is this ad bringing fair trade to light? Are we any the wiser as to cadburys impact (how many schools have they built?) or responsibility (what's changed?) in these farming communities in Ghana?

    After having seen the NGOs operating in Ghana, Ethio.. wherever in Africa.. they strike me as dodgy (spending US dollars & living the high life!).. I know that the Fair Trade Regs are quite stringent & it takes time to acquire the FT logo, but I am still quite cynical as to what FT really means..

    I do however buy FT where I can.. Mostly choc & coffee etc. I also shop in Charity Shops as believe in recycling & not contributing to the perpetuation of sweat shops.. Seeing as you asked me if I buy FT.. I will ask you.. do you shop in Primark? Honestly? ;-)

  6. Agreed but companies often like to paint their adoption of Fair Trade products as a sign of corporate social responsibility and carrying Fair Trade products before competitors do can bring a marketing advantage.

    My concern is not their agenda it's the fact it's being done. In an advert about Fair trade chocolate the question of other charity work Cadbury's maybe doing would not be brought to light within this context as it's completely different.

    Being of Caribbean descent can you assure me of the differences with African culture? The Trident gum advert had no context he was speaking in Jamaican dialect, which they clearly showed from the start was baffling to the audience he was reciting to.That were majority white, so rather than laughing with him, it was case of being laughed at.

    If you are cynical about all the things you have mentioned I would agree research go find out question these things. I have looked into alot about NGO organisation and I question all things.

    That's what my blog is about it's for people to see things, have questions and go find out and bring forth ideas, things you see need changing and how..

    I do shop in Primark and I also buy Fairtrade products for hair,food and skin and clothes when I can. Do you buy sugar? Where do you buy your shoes, Jewellery etc

    I can go on about what we buy, and question the ethics of where and how it was made. The issue with this is there are several things we are attributing to, willingly or not.
    Like you said in your opening statement it's us that make change happen and agreeably so.

    Your question of the advert was the fact you felt they played on stereotypes of black features. I questioned your definition of big lips etc. Big lips compared to what???

    There are vast and varied types of mask several are depicted with African features as they are carved by African people I cannot anticipate anything different. "Big lips" as you call it I see normal lips.. That's what my question to you is?

    As I said whether possible decisions can be made within own lives to make a difference and changes happen everyday.

    Questioning white media agenda is something we should do but focus on what we can do to bring that balance back to society.

  7. Hi soulfully.. hope you're cool.. just in response to your last..

    I appreciate what you say about how the ad & conversion to FT itself can bring a marketing advantage as a clear embodiment of Cadbury's agenda (to sell choc!) but my Q is what does FT REALLY mean.. for the farmers, communities and their families? I take your point that I'm off track with what we're discussing here and that that is really a wider ethical Q..

    I don't know what you mean when you ask if I can, being WI, assure you of the differences with African culture?

    Re the ad in Q, I find that, like trident, it has no context either.. Viewer is totally unclear what it's about until the last second when the text & FT logo appear.

    When I mention my cynicism.. I really mean from what I have seen.. FT is often purely for marketing purposes as you have mentioned.. As a result, it is often difficult to ensure that standards which may have been implemented (in order to qualify for FT) are upheld..

    Regarding the lips issue.. I know you don't know me, so the comment in my very first post prob sounded totally flippant! I find the lips of the mask over-exaggerated.. compared to the features of its own face firstly. Secondly, I can assure you that I am not coming from the view of finding white to be the 'norm' in terms of beauty.. But you find that 'normal'? For true? I think you're moving into the realms of the philosophical now as who can ever define normal?

    I've spoken to Ghanians who find ad offensive (mostly over 30/35 years of age) and under 25s who like seeing Ghana on TV & Tinny of course.. That may be something in itself as a sign of the times from social experience in UK..? how old are you? I'm 33.

    What are African features?

    What can we do to bring balance back to society? Don't know that society has ever been balanced honey.. I would say challenging the white media agenda is one of the most important things wouldn't you say? Black people nearly always negatively portrayed.. can you name a half decent portrayal on UK TV/film/media lately? I can't..

    Did you watch "The Event" on Ch4? I thought it was interesting how it demonstrated how people find it hard to accept or even see 'issues' (such as racial prejudice) which do not affect them personally.. Racism & dodgy reps of black people are just fanning the flames.. our racism is so subtle in this country.. people think they're open minded and they really aren't!

    But in response to your v first Q.. yes.. I do find cadburys ad offensive because it is patronising and stereotypical.. take a look at Ghana web:

    Anyways.. bye for now!

  8. Hi, I am very well thank you,

    Extracted from FT website. " Cadbury and the Fairtrade Foundation today announced plans to achieve Fairtrade certification for Cadbury Dairy Milk, the nation’s top selling chocolate bar, by end of Summer 2009. This groundbreaking move will result in the tripling of sales of cocoa under Fairtrade terms for cocoa farmers in Ghana, both increasing Fairtrade cocoa sales for existing certified farming groups, as well as opening up new opportunities for thousands more farmers to benefit from the Fairtrade system."

    Complete and utter commitment to this is something that needs to be challenge not the advert. Like you said you cannot be sure the standards are upheld. No argument there.

    Normal is what is normal to you. As a black person my eyes and lips are normal to me. Not comparative to anything just me. If I was to compare then I can say they are bigger than etc.

    "What are African features?"

    The beauty of our faces and the different races is that it is possible to tell a black person from a white person to an Asian. Take from that what you will. And I ask can I really wonder what makes me look black?

    It was depicted on an African Mask I am finding it hard to see what your saying here? If there where no mask of the sort in Africa then I could see a problem and say yes they are only basing there idea of features and making them caricatures.

    Bring back may have been the incorrect term, I should say bring period. The only way to bring change would be through us. Yes I did watch that show how racist are you? and what I derived from that,as you said "people find it hard to accept or even see 'issues'. I took from that how much can I do and how much can I really expect 'others' to change.

    I do agree challenging media is always something we should out of principal but I believe the focus should be on us and what we can do..

    I looked at the website and was completely dumbfounded by the persons title. His complaint is that the “Cadbury African-Gorilla Personality Tribal Head” and others words such as "grotesque effigy".

    African mask-

    So I question is he complaining they are using stereotypes based on Eurocentric opinions of our features or his own opinion.

    Yes there are racist and highly offensive adverts I don't feel this was one of them. Badly done maybe and not concise. But I find majority opinion I am hearing people like the song and the energy and the dancing.Sometimes it's just down to who sees it and what they see.

    I appreciate your comments and welcome more.