This is a banner ad for a new initiative from Mars Chocolate, the makers of brands like M&Ms, Snickers and Dove Chocolate.
Doesn’t this ad look friendly and well meaning? Like something you’d see in an educational pamphlet about eating right or at a doctor’s office or something?
Except that the center of the cute Earth-like image at the bottom is a big round piece of chocolate, which isn’t usually the featured food in health-food pamphlets. And when you go to the website, it’s all about health, how to make sure you’re eating right and exercising. Oh, and chocolate. It talks about the history of chocolate and extols the virtues of the chocolate sold by Mars.
The website does a great job of actually not being full of mixed messages, despite being run by a chocolate company. It’s very up-front about their products and their marketing, actually. The problem is the banner ad, which isn’t so up-front. When I first saw it I wasn’t even sure what it was for. I thought “Mars, the chocolate company?” and “is that chocolate in the middle?” and generally thought it was weird. Honestly, if it weren’t for this blog, I doubt I would have followed the link to see what it was pointing to. I was kind of put off by it.
While I appreciate the efforts Mars seems to be going to in order to encourage healthy eating and everything, I can’t help but feeling like this banner ad doesn’t convey their message that well. It feels almost deceptive, and that’s not something that I would think they’d want, given how the whole campaign is about how they’re trying to go out of their way to be open about the health information on their products! I just think that there has to be a better way for Mars to advertise this initiative beyond the website.