Ihad a horrifying incident with a Snickers bar a few weeks ago.
The bar itself was a tasty blend of chocolate, nougat and the textural chaser of peanut, but that’s hardly the point. I was duped into buying it, in my life’s most unsettling demonstration of the power of advertising.
I was driving, and very hungry, and passing a grocery store. I thought to myself, “I’m hungry, and you know what would satisfy that hunger? A delicious Snickers bar.”
I pulled over and bought one.
It was not until after I finished devouring the candy, however, that I realized I’d been had. The idea of a satisfying Snickers had come directly from that ubiquitous series of commercials that star various celebrities as the hunger-addled versions of normal people.
A regular dude turns into a Goodfellas-esque Joe Pesci, nearly threatening two nice girls to go home and get their (expletive deleted) shinebox, before his friend hands him a Snickers and, his hunger sated, he returns to regular dudedom.
This marketing concept – “Hungry? Grab a Snickers” is literally the bar’s slogan – had wormed its way down into my brain, to the point where I wasn’t even aware of it as I, hungry, grabbed a Snickers.
Catching yourself fallen prey to an ad campaign is a quick way to turn the taste of chocolate in your mouth sour. And I bring it up because this weekend in Gig Harbor provides a chance to indulge in some delicious chocolate without feeling like a sucker.
In fact, you’d be doing the opposite of what I did.
If you attend the Art of Chocolate, from noon to 6 p.m. on Saturday at many downtown businesses, you’ll be eating chocolate not in support of insidious marketing, but to benefit the business and artwork of your neighbors.
The Art of Chocolate takes place in conjunction with Gig Harbor’s monthly art walk, but most businesses downtown will be featured along with galleries. Check out The Art of Chocolate – Gig Harbor on Facebook for a complete list of participating businesses, many of which will have door prizes and other giveaways in addition to delicious, delicious chocolate.
Because chocolate, of all things, is something you should feel good about eating. I don’t think chocolate needs my help in advertising its many qualities of flavor (though, when too dark, chocolate always makes me sneeze. That’s 100 percent true. I’ve never understood why.).
But it’s also very healthy, in reasonable doses. Numerous studies have correlated moderate chocolate indulgence with reduced risk for cardiovascular diseases and even cancer, and chocolate is full of antioxidants.
Don’t go crazy on the bonbons or anything, but a decent dose of chocolate can do a body good.
So, with that in mind, the last thing you want to feel as you bite into a piece of chocolate is shame for listening to a celebrity in a 30-second commercial. You want to feel thankful that nature gave us the cacao bean in its sweetness or bitterness (as long as you don’t sneeze) and proud of yourself for fighting your oxidants with such tasty medicine.
And if you can support your neighborhood small businesses and mingle with your community while doing all that, it’s the cherry on top.Off the Wall columnist Will Livesley-O’Neill can be reached at 253-358-4152 or by email at email@example.com. Follow him on Twitter, @gateway_will.