The finest beans don't cry

By Shibani Gharat , afaqs!, Mumbai | In Advertising | September 06, 2011
The new TVC, created by Ogilvy India for Cadbury Bournville, explains why you need to earn a Bournville and not just buy it.

Have you seen a crying cocoa bean lately? If your answer is in the negative, then maybe it is smiling on a small section of a shelf in your neighbourhood grocery store as a Cadbury Bournville. And, you can't merely go and buy it, as you have to earn it! The brand new television commercial (TVC) of Bournville spills the beans on why one should 'earn' a Bournville.

The creative concept for the TVC has been designed by Ogilvy India.

Based in Ghana, the TVC begins with a 'White man' minutely examining a cocoa bean, later pronouncing that 'He will be a Bournville one day'. The subsequent bean, however, is not selected by the 'White man', which results in the bean breaking into tears. The entire bean selection process is anxiously watched by the dark-skinned farmers, whose state of mind is reflected by the reaction of the beans. Their bean produce not being selected to make a luxury commodity like Bournville chocolate would cause a lot more than mere tears for the farmers of West Africa!

Dark luxury

The cocoa bean crop, which forms the raw material for these fine luxury chocolates, also form a means of livelihood for several farmers in Ghana. West Africa produces about 70 per cent of the world's cocoa and the crop is crucial to the economy and politics of Ghana and Ivory Coast, as per a book by London-based freelance journalist, Orla Ryan, titled Chocolate Nations: Living and Dying for Cocoa in West Africa. Cocoa is also aptly referred to as 'Black Gold' in Ghana as it is one of the largest cash crops in the region.

The characterisation of the TVC is stereotypical, with the 'White' manufacturer selecting and purchasing the bean, and the dark, poor cocoa-crop farmers presenting their finest produce to the manufacturer. The frustration and disappointment of the farmer, in the final sequence of the commercial, is the life-like depiction of the disappointment of a farmer when his crop gets rejected.

Chandramouli Venkatesan, director, strategy and snacking, Cadbury India, tells afaqs!, "In dark chocolate, like wine, the origin of the ingredient and strictness of process contribute to the superior taste. Informing the consumer about this not just reassures him, but also adds an aura of exclusivity around his consumption habits."

The chocolate brand claims to have a precise 44 per cent cocoa content sourced from Ghana's renowned cocoa beans.

The TVC has been shot in Johannesburg and Durban in South Africa. The production house is Footcandles. The creative director and copy writer is Manoj Shetty.

Shetty, senior creative director, Ogilvy India says that the current campaign is a straightforward ingredient story told in the usual unusual way. "While the information provided by the campaign defines the product and the product category better, the idiosyncratic tone emphasises the quirky nature of the brand communication."

Bournville has spent three years in the Indian market. "While the market is evolving into finer, subtler tastes, it is also the brand's responsibility to carry the Indian consumer along and help him evolve to the good life," says Venkatesan.

This communication is not a departure from the earlier communication. "It is just another facet of the same product. This aspect of Bournville will be extended to print and the internet," says Shetty.

Crying bean brings smiles

Overall, the TVC has been well-received by the advertising fraternity. Charles Victor, national creative director, Law & Kenneth Worldwide, says, "I haven't been a fan of previous Bournville commercials, but this one was an exception. I loved the surprise, especially because the build up to it was serious. The last thing you expected was a crying bean in the midst of some serious evaluation! I just wish the buyer wasn't apologetic. Overall, I quite enjoyed watching it, and it was certainly better than the Butler commercial."

Nilesh Vaidya, executive creative director, Network Advertising, does not seem to kneel to the tears of the bean. "I found this a little out of character with the Bourneville advertising I have seen so far. The earlier films, whether you liked them or not, had a very clear idea and tone that defined the brand. This one seems to be going somewhere else (Ghana, I know), with the Brit accent being the only common thread. The link to 'You have to earn it' seems tenuous at best. And, as for the actual idea of the bean crying at being left out, it didn't make me cry/smile/frown/laugh. Maybe I have to earn it, too?"

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