Tuesday 1 June 2010

sex and the chocolate

Back from TASTE in Edinburgh but not sure I have yet recovered. It is a fairly full on experience - from the moment they open to some time after each session closes - so about four and a half hours - the stall is busy - offering tastings, talking about the product, trying to stop people eating the demonstration chocolates, making sure they all take a card, wondering who the very gorgeous looking bloke is who asked us if we wanted to have our photo taken with him (we were so surprised and said 'No'! turns out it was one of those celebrity chefs!)

anyway - exhausting and I do not really know yet how successful it was - few people buy at these events and we just need to monitor orders and try and gauge how many came from the event. But it has left me wondering about marketing and how I should do it better. My son made an interesting observation about how others market chocolate - the dark seductive colours used, the images, the language - it is all about sex and indulgence - and not about the taste or the chocolate itself. In my own marketing I have been attempting to portray the freshness and the taste - and maybe this is why people don't respond to it so well - are we programmed in this country to only respond to chocolate as sex and indulgence? the Flake adverts, the 'because the lady loves milk tray' - this must all run very deep.

I began to wonder how chocolate is marketed in other countries and thought of the chocolate shops in Brussels - these are definitely not dark indulgent parlours of seduction - they are bright and fresh - the chocolates sold on their own terms for what they are. Is it only the British who think of chocolate as sinful? When doing stalls at markets, people often recoil with horror when offered chocolates - as if I am offering the hearts of new born babies; often people say things like 'tempt me not Satan', or refer to chocolate as 'food of the devil'. This is all really quite weird! The stall next to me was Cambus o'May cheese - really, really lovely cheese - but I don't think they were ever accused of being the Devil's accomplice! And not sure cheese marketing has ever really used the sex and indulgence tack has it?

Not sure where all this is taking me - I don't think I do want to start 'sexing' up my product - but I know I do need to be more savvy on the marketing front.