How Hepburn Sells Chocolate

Chris BeecherAdvertisement Analysis, Film and Media, New Voices, Responding to a Text, Visual Rhetoric

It is very common for an advertiser to use a celebrity to affect a product’s value, such as in Galaxy’s 2013 chocolate bar advertisement [aka Dove Chocolate], which included a digital re-creation of Audrey Hepburn. In several days, most news outlets scrambled to report this new Galaxy girl; the ad touched off a heated discussion in the public. This chocolate ad takes advantage of the audience because Galaxy understands that people want beauty, happiness, convenience, and uniqueness, and exploits these values to get people to buy their product.

The principle, “The Center Draws Attention” in Molly Bang’s How Pictures Work, says that people always look at the center of an image if objects are located in the middle (22). Galaxy puts Hepburn in the middle of the scene so that the customers will notice Hepburn’s beauty immediately. Also, the messy background contrasts with the elegant Hepburn. In this ad, several small tables are crowded in the right upper corner, some apples and broken watermelons are scattered a few meters away from the fruit stall, a wooden chair is surrounded by three cameras, and the big director’s megaphone is upside down on the ground close to the wooden chair legs. But Hepburn is different from the environment. Hepburn leans back in the chair, sweeps her long, soft hair back in a ponytail, and wears a silk scarf and long dress. She holds a chocolate bar in her hands, and puts her feet on another chair, showing her thin ankles. The ad gives a hint to young girls that this is what they should look like (Marquez). As the only object held by Hepburn, the chocolate leaves people powerless to move their eyes off it.

Advertisers employ pretty movie stars like Hepburn in ads to improve the value of products (Guerra). Audrey Hepburn was nominated five times for the Academy Award for Best Actress during her lifetime. One of her representative works is Breakfast at Tiffanys, a comedy released by Paramount Pictures in 1961. It is rated as 7.9 out of 10 on the Internet Movie Database. Additionally, the theme song in the film, “Moon River,” sung by Hepburn, won both the 34th Academy Award and 5th Annual Grammy Award for Best Original Song . Thus, using an actress that so many people can immediately recognize, like Hepburn, makes people want to buy the advertised item so that they can compare themselves to her. Secondly, the reason for using endorsements in advertising is credibility and trust. For example, in 2011, the glasses brand Oliver Goldsmith released oversized sunglasses which cost $400. It did not set any gemstones on the spectacles; it is simply the same style as worn by Hepburn in Breakfast at Tiffanys (Heyman). Hence, it is reasonable that the famous Hepburn has the ability to improve a brand’s value and sales, even after her death.

Happiness is another aspect of pathos that helps this ad succeed in its goal. This ad was set in the 1960s in romantic Italy, next to the Amalfi Coast. The creator of digital Hepburn, Mike McGee, explains that the 1960s were meaningful for Hepburn (McGee). This decade was not only the golden age, 21 to 30 years old, for Hepburn, but also the time when Hepburn started to become famous. In 1953, Hepburn won her first Academy Award for Best Actress for her debut in Roman Holiday, a romantic film directed in Italy. McGee also mentions that he draws many materials from Roman Holiday to perfect his digital Hepburn’s facial expressions (McGee). Her dashing eyebrows and shining eyes are vivid, her chubby cheeks have a faint tinge of pink, and a smile rests on her full lips. As a result, Hepburn’s attractive smile attracts the audience. For many, seeing another person smile makes them feel happy themselves.

In addition, happiness is implied through the logos of eating chocolate. In a study, participants rated their moods from distressed to very happy five minutes after they ate a chocolate bar, an apple, or nothing. 71.2 percent of chocolate group participants chose “very happy” in five minutes (Macht and Dettmer 334). This is because phenethylamine in chocolate increases the level of dopamine, the pleasure chemical, in cell vacuoles (qtd. in Milliron et al. 351). In other words, the study showed that chocolate brings joy and that eating chocolate can release people’s stress. For instance, Chinese students have hundreds of examinations every semester. They study day and night, but it is unusual to see them sleep during an exam since Chinese students eat chocolate before exams. To advertise that the product brings happiness, Hepburn holds a chocolate bar and sits comfortably in the wooden chair. Consequently, the customers want to purchase Galaxy since they know chocolate increases dopamine and will make them feel comfortable, like Hepburn does in the ad.

The choice of words in the ad provides convenience to the audience, so the audience will understand the ad immediately without doing any research. Charles A. O’Neill claims simple words are easy to memorize in his paper, “The Language of Advertising.” For instance, he explains that in the Kars4Kids ad, each word only has one syllable and even children can understand it (O’Neill). Similar to the Kars4Kids ad, Galaxy uses short words to quickly represent the advantage of their chocolate. “Why have cotton when you can have silk?” is written at the bottom of the ad. The whole sentence consists of eight words, and it takes three seconds to read, but the meaning of the words is obvious; people do not need time to figure it out. It tells the audience that Galaxy chocolate bar has a silky texture. Thus, when people come to buy a chocolate in the supermarket, among dozens of brands, they may remember Galaxy chocolate bar has a silky taste and put it into their shopping carts.

What’s more, the meaning of these simple words attracts people because everyone wants to be special. Considering the words “cotton” and “silk” again, “cotton” is a common and cheap material. A cotton T-shirt costs about ten dollars. In contrast to cotton, silk is flimsy, gorgeous, elegant, and expensive. Silk has a special molecular structure and wearing silk . To relate cotton and silk to social psychology, human beings desire to be elegant rather than common, and they wish to be different from others, so they dye their hair, wear fashionable clothes, and go to the gym so they will be recognized in a crowd at first sight. Galaxy uses the words ‘cotton’ and ‘silk’ in the ad to guide customers’ expectations to be distinctive. After the audience has been thinking about ‘cotton‘ and ‘silk,‘ they believe they are out of the ordinary if they choose the silky Galaxy chocolate bar.

Last, the Galaxy chocolate bar ad uses human desires to be pretty, joyful, relaxed, and different from others, to attract customers to buy their product. The advertiser creates a digital version of Audrey Hepburn, who performs in the ad not only to draw people’s attention, but also to use Hepburn’s fame to improve Galaxy’s value. After that, the happy emotion from the ad influences the audience to be joyful, and customers trust scientific reports that eating chocolate makes one feel happy. Moreover, everyone understands the chocolate tastes smooth because of the simple message. Furthermore, since many people desire to be distinguished from others, “cotton” and “silk” make a comparison between other chocolate bars and Galaxy, leading customers to choose Galaxy to be different. This ad is simply a picture, but the advertiser employs various techniques to make this ad successful. Therefore, more and more customers will be attracted by the ad and will buy the Galaxy chocolate .




Works Cited

Bang, Molly. Picture This: How Pictures Work. Chronicle Books, 1991, pp. 1762.

Guerra, Marvin. “Axe Advertising.” New Voices/Wings Online. Edited by Amber Norwood and Amy Reynolds. Hayden McNeil, 2016.

Heyman, Jessie. “10 Things You Never Knew About Breakfast at Tiffany’s.” Vogue, 4 May 2015, Conde Nast Publications Inc.­ breakfast-at-tiffanys/

Macht, Michael, and Dorothee Dettmer. “Everyday Mood and Emotions After Eating a Chocolate Bar or an Apple.” Appetitle, vol. 46, no. 3, 2006, pp. 332-336.

Marquez, Cindy. “The Ideal Women.” New Voices/Wings Online. Edited by. Amber Norwood and Amy Reynolds. Hayden-McNeil. 2016,

McGee, Mike. “How We Resurrected Audrey HepburnTM for the Galaxy Chocolate ad.”

The Guardian, 8 Oct. 2014, Guardian News and Media Limited. media-network/media-network-blog/20 I 4/oct/08/how-we-made­


Milliron, Tara, et al. “Q/Does Chocolate Have

Cardiovascular Benefits?” Journal of Family Practice, vol. 59 no.6, 2010 p. 35 I.

O’Neill, Charles A. “The Language of Advertising.” Exploring Language, Edited by Gary Goshgarian, Pearson Higher Education, 2011.