This is an old grievance. I have been asking this question of myself and others since I first noticed the bizarre messages inside of my Dove Chocolate wrappers.
By no means am I the first person to notice this. And by no means will I be the last. But while many write off Dove’s wrappers as nothing more than slightly misguided branding attempts, I believe that Dove knows exactly what it’s doing.
For decades now, Dove Chocolate has been executing a masterful three-pronged marketing scheme, born of Hell itself. And they’ve been doing it right under our noses.
Allow me to explain…
For those of you who have seen The Witch, I call this the Black Phillip stage: “Hello, consumers. Do you like the taste of… unprotected sexual encounters?”
Actual advice from Dove chocolate wrappers:
-“Wear short skirts.”
-“Flirt with strangers.”
-“Temptation is fun… giving in is even better.”
-“Stir your sense of pleasure.”
-“Indulge your every whim.”
-“Wink at someone driving past today.”
At first, you may be thinking, “Boy, this seems like strangely intimate advice to be receiving from my chocolate. ” But what you may not have realized is, Dove is playing the long-game.
While those other chocolate-selling chumps were trying to cast a wide net, ensnaring as many consumers as possible, Dove thought: “No. We don’t need them all. We need loyalty, dedication, a select following that will heed our every wrapper. There’s a word for that, isn’t there? Ah, yes. A cult! A cult that doesn’t know it’s a cult. That we’ll lure into getting themselves or others pregnant, and who will feed their babies delicious Dove—thereby imbuing them with a bloodthirst for chocolate at an even earlier age. As the generations pass, Dove’s zombified horde will continue to breed, growing ever larger, wearing even shorter skirts and flirting with even more strangers!! Yesssssss. Soon, SOOOOOOOOOOON.”
And so, Dove’s marketing team sat back, twiddling their thumbs, waiting to unveil their newest tidbits of wrapper-advice: “Skip your pill today!” and, “The Withdrawal Method—Works Like a Charm!”
But then they realized: wait. Wait a second.
Our plan is contingent upon our unsuspecting zombie-worshippers having lots of babies. Maybe even a family. But you know what’s distracting? Families. Loved ones.
We can’t have our minions surrounded by love, feeling quietly fulfilled, and leaving Dove Chocolate by the wayside.
This brings us to…
Again, Dove’s marketing team leapt from the shadows and took to their white-boards: “But how can we make our brainwashed candy-serfs love Dove more than their ever-expanding herds of children? How can we compete with the affection of a cherished loved one?”
They knew their cultists loved Dove. But what they realized was, it had to be more than that. They had to fall in love with Dove. They had to develop an all-consuming romantic attachment, sure to baffle themselves and others, to an edible object.
And how to accomplish that?
A voice called out with the answer: “I’ve got it! Quick, hit on them! Hit on the chocolate-chattel!”
And a new wave of chocolate wrappers was born.
More actual Dove wrappers:
-“You know what? You look good in red.”
-“You have a great laugh.”
-“Chocolate loves unconditionally.”
-“Chocolate won’t let you down.”
-And last, but certainly not least: “Chocolate. Always your Valentine.”
To that last wrapper, they considered adding, “ALWAYS. DO YOU HEAR ME, CHRISTINE? YOU WILL NEVER ESCAPE DOVE, CHRISTINE.”
But they thought that might be tipping their hand too much.
So, again they sat back, and watched and waited and lurked. With delight, they saw their cult fall head over heels for Dove, brimming with false confidence—wearing red and laughing—and, all the while: swelling and bloating, stuffing chocolate into their children’s faces and their own.
It was all so easy.
But. That was just the problem. It was too easy.
As it turns out, Americans take almost no convincing to become emotionally dependent on chocolate. If they’d fallen so quickly for Dove, what was to stop them from—*gasp*—falling for another? What if some flashy new chocolate came along to sweep them off their feet?
There was only one way to ensure they’d never leave.
Which brings us to…
“We have to destroy them.” Dove’s marketing team realized, “It’s come to this. It’s not enough for them to be lovelorn zombies. We need ego-shattered, chocolate-dribbling husks. We need them to shipwreck their own lives, and to grasp at Dove as if it were the last plank in the vast, roiling ocean that threatens to consume them. It’s the only way to be sure that they’ll never have the courage to leave.”
It wouldn’t be hard. They’d do it gradually—sneak in questionable advice that would mount with each wrapper. By the time their victims realized they were destroying their own lives, it would be too late to salvage them. A grim task, but it had to be done. It was for the good of Dove Chocolate.
Thus was born their newest wrapper initiative, the ruthless deathblow in their three-pronged reign of chocolatey terror.
Yep, still actual Dove wrappers:
–“It’s okay to be fabulous AND flawed!”
-“Sleep late tomorrow.”
-“Quote your dad.”
-“Calories only exist if you count them.”
-“Don’t settle for a spark… light a fire instead.”
-And perhaps most cruelly, once they were confident that their prey had been ensnared in a web of helpless despair:
“I don’t know what else to tell you.”
They stopped just short of, “Quit your job!” and, “Medicine is a trick!” Also, “Stop seeing your therapist,” and “Dove hears great things about day-drinking.”
Because, again, subtlety is important to Dove.
But there you have it.
The plan was complete. Dove had founded their following, bred and brainwashed droves of Dove-crazed addicts, and then… crushed them all in its velvety palm.
The rest of us look right past Dove’s scheme, hiding in plain sight.
We open a Dove wrapper and raise an eyebrow. Maybe we think, “Oh, Dove, you sure are a little strange sometimes!” But then we eat the chocolate, and we don’t give it a second thought—just as Dove intended.
After all, Dove’s nefarious trap would never work on us. We’d never be stupid enough to follow advice printed inside a piece of chocolate.
But then, that one I read the other day was actually a little inspiring.
And, I don’t know, I do look good in red…