I am not buying Cadbury Bournville.
Whoever thought of this advertisement is an incredibly ignorant/ insensitive/ harbours colonialist, imperialist sentiments about white domination and what’s more he has managed to produce an ugly advertisement for something as delicious and popular as chocolate.
This advertisement for Cadbury’s Bournville chocolate opens with a bald, white intellectual type examining a cocoa bean under a loupe. The white man has the power to decide which bean is fit and that which is junk. He is surrounded with eager black people, maybe tribals, even neanderthals, their eyes are a study in how eyes are mirrors to the soul and mind you only eyes of simple people speak volumes since they are not adept at masking their emotions like the suave, complex, superior and socially skilled white man. He is segregating cocoa beans- there are two categories- ones that go into making the bournville and ones that are useless. They are waiting…all their eyes on the white man bent at the table. He places a bean on the table and pronounces-“ He will be a ‘Bournville’ one day. And so one till he come to a bean that he scans minutely, perhaps taking longer than normal time to assess the potential in this rough raw product.
Finally the white man pronounces the verdict- ‘He is nothing’. Right! At his disposal are the vast powers to make or break the black spirit by choosing only the best Ghana cocoa that will go into making Cadbury Bournville. Oh and this is not the end of the story. Being the eternal gentleman with a sense of fair play even if he is amongst a bunch of uncouth farmers, he asks the black people surrounding him to convey his apologies to the bean who is crying inconsolably all the while bearing an embarrassed expression on his face (you don’t show your emotions n public now, do you? This sort of behaviour is unforgivable and is demonstrated by a passionate people who are exposed to sun and who live in tropical regions. For ref. read Sherlock Holmes).
He is not really apologising. That much you can see. He just wants the bean to get on with it and stop shedding tears. Initially my reaction was disbelief at such a blatant expression that is reminiscent of colonialist history and then it turned to outrage. They have the balls to show this ad on Indian TV where Cadbury is the largest confectioner in the country enjoying Rs.2000 crore in revenues and annual sales growth of 20%. Dumb, dumb, dumb and irritating.
What? The person making this advertisement didn’t study history? I read a column echoing similar thoughts in Tehelka and the author promised that there might be somebody out there who found the cocoa bean crying a very cute thing to watch. To find out how much truth there was in it, I called up a friend of mine and casually mentioned this advertisement and she gushed how she and her son found the bean so cute when it shed tears.
I hung up quietly and decided that my next blog post had to be about the ‘Black cocoa bean from Ghana being assessed by the White Man’. To know more about how that is a euphemism for the White Man’s approval for the actions of every black, brown, and other-than-white- race, please go back to your history books and reference books. I would like to read Ramachandra Guha’s take in this one. The advertisement is dirty and insulting.
Come on folks, don’t buy the bournville until they change the advertisement and make it entertaining, funny, touching and relevant like the other Cadbury advertisements. We love those but this one goes straight into the incinerator!