Gigi and Zoë came onto me with candy and drugs at the checkout stand this weekend. Gigi was peppy, Zoë sultry – two creatively packaged supplements crossed with sugary sweets and spiced with sexy cartoon characters.
The girls are riding a hot trend. The same potent marketing techniques – think Tony the Tiger – that hooked generations on Frosted Flakes are now tempting adults with chocolate pastilles brimming with attitude and drugs.
The checkout stand loves to tap into our base impulses. At Whole Foods, that concept is reaching heightened experiential levels. Chocolate with Energy from Good Day Chocolate features a friendly, doll-like feminine visage on its thumb-sized candy box. “Say Good Day to Gigi,” exhorts the package of caffeinated chocolates. “Gigi thinks you’re pretty awesome, too. Now click my head back and let’s go!”
Gigi is a shameless flirt, and the misogynist undercurrent of the packaging is a far cry from the text-only wrapper on traditional Hershey bars. Gigi and Zoë are hypersexualized characters pushing drugs mixed with chocolate. Zoë “always remembers her dreams” and tantalizes us with the suggestion of easy sleep. But just as Tony the Tiger jacked me up on sugar, Zoë may not have my best health at heart. Melatonin is the active ingredient in Chocolate Sleep. The box breaks down dosages into the number of blue candies you pop in your mouth, characterized by sleep clichés:
One piece = Cat Nap.
Two pieces = Beauty Rest
Three pieces = Forty Winks
Four pieces = Out Like a Light
Since each morsel contains one milligram of melatonin, buyers run the risk of developing a habit. Yet the girls tempt with their tagline, “Chocolate With Benefits,” and we may find it hard to resist these titillating product salutations. Indeed. The Good Day Chocolate website is like a visit to a cartoon brothel. There are a dozen different girls to choose from, each with her own not-so-subtle come-on: “Ruby knows just how to push buttons” while “Stella closes her eyes and breathes in and out. In and out.”
More buttons are bound to be pushed. Sex is sure to slip into many other aisles of our previously pedestrian grocery store experience. Good Day Chocolate and the other candy drugs featured at today’s checkout displays are the next wave in our increasingly fuzzy distinction between desire and drug, sweets and supplements.