Tony’s Chocolonely displays the unfair sides of the cocoa industry, in a bid to change it for good

For its latest advert, by agency Herc, Tony’s Chocolonely voices its concerns with the cocoa industry.

17 September 2020
Reading Time
3 minutes


Since its launch in 2005, creators of arguably the best chunky chocolate on the market Tony’s Chocolonely, have been campaigning for slave-free chocolate. Today, two million children still work illegally within the international cocoa industry and Tony Chocolonely’s latest campaign, created with agency Herc, aims to display how unfair this is.

In turn, its new advert acts as a sort of filmed manifesto. Building upon the brand’s message of “crazy about chocolate, serious about people,” the advert is voiced by Idris Elba and lists the fair and unfair sides to the industry. “What’s not to love about chocolate,” begins the voiceover of the short; “modern slavery to make a sweet luxury – unfair,” it continues.

Discussing the idea and meaning behind the new advert, Rogier de Bruin, Herc’s creative director, explains: “Tony’s Chocolonely is a brilliant brand with a wonderful, very special mission. With the ambition to introduce and spread their message in other markets, they wanted a clear manifesto that would articulate and visualise their motto”. Rogier points out how the advert translates this factor of the brand, as “Tony’s doesn’t advertise”, into a short which displays the company’s tone of voice: “both happy and serious at the same time.”

Visually, the advert is unlike most others within the confectionery industry. Bold and “poppy” throughout, it is a joyful film to watch, while also alerting viewers to the shameful history of the industry it is battling against. Switching frames between film and animation also, the advert is directed by Helmi who worked alongside director of photography Deepa Keshvala. The animated scenes of a “choco monster,” are by Brian Elstak, who brings to life the narrative, jointly written by Rogier de Bruin and Idris Elba. Emilio de Haan, Herc’s co-founder and creative director with Rogier adds: “The film is maximum poppy – in clothing, grading, camera work, mixed-image styles, you name it. Just like Tony’s energy: full-on colourful.”

With the aim to publicise a very serious message but in a positive way, Herc describes this approach of Tony’s Chocolonely’s as a “happy activist,” continues Rogier. “It’s fantastic, especially in this day and age, to be able to fully apply our approach to a happy activist, a cheerful brand that’s doing something good for the world.” Working with Thecla Schaeffer, the brand’s CMO, throughout the project, the creative director adds that both have a “shared taste in popular culture” following closely “what’s currently happening in terms of movements, styles and opinions” in a way that’s “really stimulating” for creativity.

From the brand’s point of view, Thecla adds that for them “it’s quite simple: Herc understands the cultural zeitgeist like no other agency and knows how to translate communication strategies into colourful, distinctive creative work. Which is exactly what Tony’s Chocolonely needs.”

You can support Tony’s Chocolonely’s petition to change the law for 100 per cent slave-free chocolate here. The brand needs “one million signatures to take to Brussels and Washington and 100,000 to London, to petition governments to pass new EU legislation and enforce serious consequences for those who break the existing US law and UK Slavery act.”

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HERC: Tony’s Chocolonely, Unfair / Fair

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About the Author

Lucy Bourton

Lucy joined It’s Nice That as an editorial assistant in July 2016 after graduating from Chelsea College of Art. In October 2016 she became a staff writer on the editorial team and in January 2019 was made It’s Nice That’s deputy editor. Feel free to get in contact with Lucy about new and upcoming creative projects or editorial ideas for the site.

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