How Are Today’s Chocolatieres Promoting Their Products?
Ryan Bennett, Guest Writer
By now, everyone is familiar with Roald Dahl’s Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, and whether you saw the original movie from the 1970s or the 2005 remake, or enjoyed the book that’s celebrating its 50th anniversary this year, you probably fell in love with the idea of owning your own chocolate factory, too.
You’re probably familiar with the premise of the story: Mr. Willy Wonka, “the most amazing, the most fantastic, the most extraordinary chocolate maker the world has ever seen” came up with the stellar idea to release Golden Tickets in Wonka chocolate bars. These Golden Tickets would grant five children access to his chocolate factory, and, in a surprise twist, one of the children would be invited to join him in running the company.
The Golden Tickets proved to be a clever marketing strategy, boosting Wonka’s sales tremendously. “And now the whole country, indeed, the whole world, seemed suddenly to be caught up in a mad chocolate-buying spree, everybody searching frantically for those precious remaining tickets. Fully grown women were seen going into sweet shops and buying ten Wonka bars at a time, then tearing off the wrappers on the spot and peering eagerly underneath for a glint of golden paper. Children were taking hammers and smashing their piggy banks and running out to the shops with handfuls of money.”
But we don’t have any Golden Tickets in the real world, and manufacturers and chocolatieres need to find other ways of promoting their products. While the appeal of chocolate as a delicious treat is already enough to entice consumers everywhere, manufacturers are in a race to see who can come up with the most ingenious and innovative ads.
While most chocolate advertisements follow the general example shown by Carre de chocolat above, showcasing the breathtaking and euphoric effects of chocolate, some seek simpler methods to promote their products.
Product developers know that packaging comes first and foremost. After all, when a consumer walks into the chocolate aisle, they 1) approach familiar brands, and 2) reach for brands that have attractive packaging. A common trend seen in the packaging of chocolate products shows simple, minimalistic design, in which the word “chocolate” remains the star. Colors remain neutral, with shades of brown varying based on the type of chocolate being sold.
Most manufacturers, however, have begun adding a touch of elegance to their products. Sleek silver and gold line the packaging of chocolates and chocolate products, and on the off chance that a chocolate bar is decked in a color other than brown, black or cream, you can be sure that the colors remain elegant and sophisticated, if not seasonal.
Many manufacturers have also begun turning to stranger combinations of flavors for their products. Following the Kit Kat craze that saw dozens of strange chocolate combinations enter the market, now other companies have also started relying on less conventional chocolate flavors, tying these into crowdsourcing and charity events. Anyone for chocolate-covered sun-dried tomatoes? Everything from broccoli to sweet potatoes and even squid has been paired with chocolate.
This has inspired desserts from around the world to be created. Chocolate éclair hotdogs, chocolate and cauliflower cakes, and even mayonnaise chocolate cakes have been developed. 2012’s World’s Biggest Coffee Morning saw Chocolate and Orange cakes being sold by M&S and raising thousands of dollars for Macmillan Cancer Support. Renowned chef Jose Garces also sold specialized chocolate cakes in his restaurants to raise money for his charity foundation, offering flavors like spicy chocolate cake and passion fruit sorbet and chocolate.
Of course, all this is just the icing on the cake. Chocolate remains a malleable market, and it’s going strong. Studies show that 91 percent of females and 87 percent of males still love chocolate, and the sales of seasonal and boxed chocolate products are expected to expand by 13 percent between 2010 and 2015.