An attempt by self-styled ethical chocolate company Tony’s to make a point, didn’t quite go to plan as their advent chocolate stunt goes wrong. Tony’s who were trying to start a conversation they thought very relevant at this time of year, resulted in many complaints rather than the discussion they were looking for.
The Dutch-based company, left an empty space behind the window for December 8 in an effort to pass on the message about inequality in the chocolate industry. The company thought by sharing that message and by leaving one space free, that people would be encouraged to talk about the issue – the difference in the situation between those who can afford the chocolate and those who grow and pick the beans.
Instead, the company who produced the “Chocolonely” advent calendar, was deluged with complaints from parents who said their children were upset by the missing chocolate. The company, who had hoped parents would have the discussion with their children, acknowledged that the move had caused “confusion and disappointment”.
Tony’s wanted to raise awareness of the plight of those in Ghana and the Ivory Coast where as much as 1.5 million children work under illegal conditions, because the price of cocoa was too low. In a message online the company said “Worst still, at least 30,000 adults and children are forced to work. We don’t think that’s okay.”
Tony’s did make up for the missing chocolate by adding two in the windows for day 9 and 24, so in fact people were getting more than what they had bargained for.
To make up for the gap, it added, there were two chocolates in each of the windows for 9 and 24 December, so people were getting 25 chocolates in the 24 windows.
The company in response to complaints said “We failed to consider the difficulties empty windows can cause for neurodivergent children and adults. We have more to learn in considering how we can make our products as inclusive as possible.”
Not all the comments were adverse with many calling it a stroke of genius that led to good conversations, whilst others made fun of those who complained saying they definitely were the ones who needed a lesson in inequality.
The fact that the Advent chocolate stunt goes wrong is an indication of just how difficult it can be to get messages across, with innovative and ingenious ideas not always receiving the response they deserve.
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