Women alone with chocolate in TV commercials

The blog lives! :-) It’s been an exciting few months behind the scenes, resulting in this extended absence from posting. More on recent developments soon.


In February’s Women Being Seduced By Chocolate post, I explored the heavily gendered and sexualized images of women consuming chocolate in stock photographs. As a follow up to these still images, I’ve been exploring moving ones — specifically images of women in television advertisements for chocolate. TV commercials offer a slightly more nuanced (though just slightly) approach to chocolate marketing and stereotypical gender and sex roles.

Here are nine examples featuring women alone with chocolate in commercials. Variations on this theme are to come next week. These ads were produced within the past five years (most within the past two or three), and some are currently running on TV where I live.

Most of the ads depict women craving, testifying, or dreaming about chocolate, then eating it, all in various states of sensual arousal. The ads also frequently portray chocolate as a guilty pleasure or consolation prize, thus toying with societal norms surrounding abstinence and gender performance. In a space of time as short as 15 to 30 seconds, a woman is introduced, caricatured, and titillated by chocolate consumption, depending on how we, the viewers, choose to interpret things. See for yourself:

Russell Stover cuts right to the chase with this ad, called “Women Love Chocolate”:

Previously featured in the Chocolate Rooms post, this Kellogg’s Special K ad depicts chocolate cravings as a woman’s guilty pleasure that can make dreams come true without expanding waistlines:

DOVE Chocolate’s “Only Human” commercial offers chocolate as a consolation prize for the physical and emotional challenges of femininity:

This US ad for Werther’s Original Caramel Chocolates gets more suggestive about what chocolate can do for a woman. “I just want to sink into this sofa with a bag of these…”:

The UK Werther’s Original Caramel Chocolates ad takes the suggestion even further, showing a woman having a strong, if bizarre reaction after trying the sweets:

Ghirardelli’s “Rendezvous” commercial has a simple message. A woman + chocolate = a sensual love reward:

Two more DOVE ads, the first from the US and the second from Russia, suggest that eating chocolate is a total body physical pleasure:

Perhaps the most boldly obvious is York Peppermint Pattie’s “Get the sensation,” a series of commercials with similar content. In this example, a woman takes a bite with sensuously parted lips, goosebumps rise on her skin, her pupils dilate, and her breath quickens. Subtle, it is not:

What do you think?


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    Bittersweet Notes is an open source research project on chocolate, culture, and the politics of food. I invite you to join me as I explore the story of chocolate and the life stories of those involved with chocolate at its many stages of production and consumption.

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