In recent news, British R & B singer Joss Stone became the most recent Flake Girl. And this is not a girl who is flakey as the label might suggest. Flake Girls have been around for decades, advertising Cadbury’s Flake, a chocolate product. The ads are racy, with the Flake girls getting so involved with their chocolate bars that they forget to turn off the bath faucets, for instance. Whatever it may say about sex and chocolate, the Flake product, made from chocolate that spilled out of the molds as they were filled (usually discarded), gained massive popularity.
But chocolate doesn’t need to be racy to attract attention. Experiencing a downturn in its direct mail business, London’s Royal Mail executives set out to emphasize the sensory experience of mail, as opposed to digital messages. They created a personalized mail pack, made entirely of chocolate. They packaged the 6,000 chocolate letters in a heat proof container. Paper copies were included in case clients ate the chocolate version. Good thinking there – we should know. The letters to its direct mail customers were a hit. By the time the campaign was over, the Royal Mail had made $2.5 million on a $400,000 investment. Oh the ROI envy.
Of course at any given point in the process the campaign could very well not have made it. Numerous brilliant concepts never make it past the brainstorming. There’s a budget to be approved. Then there is the effort and logistics all of which could go horribly wrong at some point. Oh for a crystal ball in the conference room. Of course when the subject is chocolate, it’s probably a pretty safe bet. Crystal ball not necessary.
Merging chocolate with advertising has definite possibilities. Chocolate makes people happy. Advertising informs people. It could be the happy marriage of the industry. We’ll admit that maybe it’s too big a job to ask for chocolate to fix the ailing economy, but some of us are willing to die trying because death by chocolate is probably better than any other kind. But we’re not in a hurry to prove this.