Peter York on Ads: No 270: Divine chocolate - A rich world of purpley-mauveyness

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The Independent Culture
This Easter, with no God on TV, somebody had to raise the serious issues. Did you see that Ben Elton doing a charity appeal? A funny bit followed by an exhortation. Well, not exactly a charity appeal, but a charitable, ethical enterprise. He was selling chocolate; so the funny bit was a fluttery, cosy, girly thing, hands wrapped anxiously round his sides: "Ooh, I shouldn't, I mustn't, I mustn't, I shouldn't." This is Ben's idea of how girls carry on, I suppose.

But this was choccy with a difference - enormous added value; this was choccy - I mustn't, I shouldn't - with moral tone. "Yes, you should," says Ben in his "let's do a little serious, a little political joke there" tone. "Divine fair trade chocolate tastes great." Ben holds the Divine chocolate bar to camera. Everything is purpley-mauvey, the package is purpley-mauvey, and the background is purpley-mauvey with reddish highlights. A rich world of purpley-mauveyness is economically conveyed.

And the point of this loud exhortation was the fair trades thing. To be precise; it's a great deal for African cocoa-growers. It's pleasure without exploitation, Beauty without Cruelty, indulgence and feel-good factor. What could be nicer?

"Divine" is spelt in a sort of Disney copperplate with the strokes of the V curled into a heart in a rather whimsical way. Anyone who had a heart would love it too. So it had Ben's blessing for Easter, commended to people of good will.

After all that, you'll not be surprised to hear that you can buy it at the Body Shop. Anita Roddick with her interest in indigenous peoples is the obvious stockist, and her concerned 16-year-old customers - no doubt plagued with chocolate conflict too - are the ideal buyers.

This ad will have cost very little to make - there are no locations, no sets, no special effects, no anything much. Elton will almost certainly have appeared without a fee. And it only ran for 10 seconds. It will have raised the profile of Divine in the right target market very fast and got the brand moving. It's altogether effective and commendable. I hope the chocolate's nice.