Tony’s Chocolonely has been campaigning in a highly original way for slave-free chocolate (speaking of purpose) since its launch in 2005: it has a bar divided into uneven blocks because the chocolate industry is unfairly divided and milk chocolate with an ‘alarm-coloured’ red wrapper. But to this day there are still two million (!) children working illegally in the international cocoa industry. And that is extremely unfair.
Which is why this optimistic brand with an opinion now wants to reinforce its original ambitions internationally. Because although everyone in the Netherlands now knows Tony’s Chocolonely (the brand has actually been market leader since 2018), not everyone abroad really knows the brand. Yes, they’re ‘colourful’ and have something to do with a good cause, but what exactly?
In a world that’s rapidly polarizing and increasingly demands outspoken points of view, HERC the agency has made a creative manifesto for Tony’s with British actor, director and multi-talent Idris Elba as spoken word artist. To show exactly what the brand stands for: what’s unfair (and Tony’s and Idris strongly condemn) and what’s fair, like the touching scene in the film: “Kids playing freely like a boss. Yes, fair.”
Rogier de Bruin, co-founder and Creative Director at HERC: “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 Crazy about chocolate, serious about people.
“So we translated the ‘brand” – Tony’s doesn’t advertise – Into a number of contrasting ‘fair’ and ‘unfair’ scenes. Just like Tony’s: both happy and serious at the same time.”
Emilio de Haan, also co-founder and Creative Director at HERC: “And why Idris Elba? He fits the brand perfectly. His mother is from Ghana, along with the Ivory Coast, the main producer of cocoa beans. And he wanted to do it: he’s passionate about helping improve lives there, so the mission is one that really appeals to him (plus we’re secretly a bit in love with him, Idris is in almost all our presentations – including our first presentation to Tony’s.)
“In spoken word form, in combination with Afropunk, he’s the voice for Tony’s Chocolonely in the manifesto. The film is maximum poppy – in clothing, grading, camera work, mixed-image styles, you name it. Just like Tony’s energy: full-on colourful.”
De Bruin: “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. And it was also great to be collaborating again with Thecla Schaeffer, with whom we worked before. We have a shared taste in popular culture: we both follow very closely what’s currently happening in terms of movements, styles, and opinions. That’s really stimulating.”
Thecla Schaeffer, CMO at Tony’s Chocolonely: “For me, 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.”
Dutch independent agency HERC was founded in 2018 by Emilio de Haan, Rogier de Bruin and Niels Heimens and has delivered award-winning campaigns for Tele2, YoungCapital, G-Star, Jobbird, HP and Redline (BMX bikes). The magic of HERC lies in creating advertising that feels like entertainment. By connecting brands with popular culture, HERC makes those brands more popular