Naomi, Cadbury and the Tristan conspiracy

I wonder how many of you know or even care that Naomi Campbell, one of the world’s top models and a dedicated charity worker, parodied herself in a series of commercials for Dunkin Donuts?  Did you also know that in late 2010 the Kraft subsidiary Cadburys decided to expand its range of Bliss chocolate, focusing on the female market? Both these facts are relevant because Kraft now stands accused of racism, amid a clamour for a boycott of its products.  Oh, and the story has been picked up by news agencies and papers across the world, from New Zealand to the Americas.  Well, of course, not all of the story, just the more sensational bits that allows you to accuse a big bad multinational of being immoral and picking on some poor hardworking person.  But please, before rushing to judgement and adding to the scandal, spend five minutes examining the facts, and that includes you, Al Sharpton, because I am sure some people have your number on speed-dial for any perceived racist case in the same way as they keep the Doctor’s office on hand.

Cadbury is seeking to position the Bliss chocolate bar as the “perfect treat for the ladies” and the advertising campaign has personified the confectionary and has the Bliss bar attending traditional pampering scenarios, such as spa days – a spoilt rich indulgent lady.  They have carefully built brand values and have said this bar is well, a Diva.  But by Diva, I mean spoilt rich prima donna, not the traditional meaning of the fat (ooops, I mean differently sized) lady who sings at the end of an opera to tell everyone to go home.  But I am sure that some advertising and PR type called Tristam remembered the commercials that featured Naomi Campbell parodying herself playing – yes, that right – a Diva who threw a tantrum because she broke a heel on her stilettos.  As a result, a series of adverts were produced with a photograph of the Bliss bar with the line “Move over Naomi, there’s a new diva in town”.  Job done, a witty advertising poster and Tristam can go and drink his Chablis in the latest trendy bar with all the others.

But no.  Naomi’s family took offence.  Not that they had called her a diva and not that the poster had mentioned any of the reasons why Naomi has earned the reputation for being a diva. (for you who may be unaware at this stage, let me tell you: she several convictions for assault, she is an ex cocaine user and is banned from flying with British Airways for life following an incident at Heathrow concerning so called lost luggage and an assault on two police officers.) I will admit the poster did feature the chocolate bar surrounded by diamonds, but most people would have seen that as a reference to the opulence of the Bliss bar itself, not as yet another one of the stories surrounding Naomi, as to exactly why she received so called ‘blood diamonds’ from the ex-president of Liberia who is currently in detention following trial on charges of war crimes by the United Nations, a trial that for all her humanitarian charitable works, Naomi had to be subpoenaed in order to give evidence and actually told the court that this “was a great inconvenience to her.”

So why are they not commenting on this but accusing Cadburys of racism?  Because Ms Campbell is of Afro-Jamaican decent and because chocolate is brown, then obviously you are calling her a what? A luxury Bliss chocolate bar that’s good enough to eat?  Perhaps former boyfriends like Mike Tyson, Robert De Niro or Flavio Briatore could tell you, but I am absolutely positive that being likened to Dove or Galaxy for example would not be used as a racist term when there are a quite a number of more abusive words and maybe a few words that have no basis in race whatsoever that anyone wishing to insult Ms Campbell could have used instead. (Well, maybe if it had been Hersheys, but that’s that different matter).  

Real racism is vile and I applaud the efforts to eradicate it, including Ms Campbell’s who has campaigned against bias in the fashion industry.  Yes there are real racists out there, but racism is where you refuse to accept that a person can be equal or better than you because of skin pigmentation or where their ancestors were from.   Racism is when you are made to use separate bathrooms and denied equal civil rights.  Recall Apartheid in South Africa?  Well, just remember that it ended in 1994 , only 20 years after the race riots of the 1970s in America.   I can once remember being surprised that some friends of mine refused to purchase their dream house because they saw the couple next door were Americans of African decent, pointing out that this would affect future resale values and that was just two years ago in a state in the American Mid-West.  Yes, racism does exist, but this whole new ‘manufactured’ spat between Kraft-Cadburys and Ms Campbell has nothing to do with racism, not really.

There are a few clues, one of which is the fact that the reporting of Ms Campbell’s perceived ‘outrage’ appeared in a piece in New Zealand and another in the UK within five hours of each other.  The second clue is the fact that when TV shows obscure the Ford badge on what is obviously a Ford F150 pickup because they didn’t have clearance to use the Ford name; you can bet that the lawyers working for Cadburys ad agency made sure that the advertisement had all the permissions going.   Forgive me for shouting collusion here, but have any of you heard of ‘The Outside Organisation’?  No? Well they just happen to be Ms Campbell’s PR agents and have represented her for quite a few years, in fact there is a case study on how they managed the media when Ms Campbell was explaining to the International Court of Justice in The Hague just how she was given two blood diamonds.   So, is it just possible that people working for ‘The Outside Organisation’ just happen to know people working for Cadburys advertising agency?  Perhaps, just perhaps, the Tristams of this world are going to earn their bonuses this year because Kraft can rest assured that product awareness has widened and The Outside Organisation must be grateful that their client is now getting sympathetic press at last.  But Racism?  Give me a Kit Kat, sorry, a break.

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About cryptothinker
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One Response to Naomi, Cadbury and the Tristan conspiracy

  1. jokerscrowbar says:

    Mmm…Dark chocolate.

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