Caramel Bunny, the langorously laid-back lapin whose motto has been ‘take it easy’ since the 1980s has suddenly gone a bit Type A. Cadbury’s astutely-planned new poster and press campaign has her urging us to get our bob-tailed rears in gear lest we miss the chance of bagging her and her chocolate twin in a seasonal cellophane two-pack.
What’s the hurry? The time of year, basically. This is known as seasonal marketing, particularly important for confectionery manufacturers (but also a mainstay of retailers — as outlined in a previous blog).
There, ringed on Ms Bunny’s wall calendar is April 24th, Easter Sunday — cue for chocoholics everywhere to abandon Lenten abstention and dive back into the brown stuff big time.
I’ve never quite understood the connection between Easter and chocolate. Yes, eggs are a sign of new life — and feature in Christian iconography as a symbol of divine perfection, as in Piero della Francesca’s sublime Brera Altarpiece which suspends an ostrich’s egg over the head of the Madonna.
And I’m willing to accept bunny rabbits as Easter symbols, given their famed fecundity and similarity to the Hare, sacred to the Pagan goddess after whom the season is named in English-speaking countries.
But why all the chocolate? Neither eggs nor bunnies exactly summon it to mind in their natural states. My theory is as follows. Even in the unreliable UK summer, the weather tends to get a bit hot for chocolate to be quite as alluring a prospect as it might be in the colder months. In fact I remember a long time ago when I worked at what was then Rowntree Mackintosh, a certain senior manager frowned on sunny days because they were so bad for sales. Prospects for year-round profits have improved for chocolate manufacturers with the development of brand extensions into icecream. But Easter, even a late one as this year, is the last opportunity to move significant quantities of the real stuff before the summer comes along.
That is, before the advent of global warming and the likely contracting of chocolate munching months. Let’s hope Caramel Bunny doesn’t entirely lose her cool in years to come.