Thursday, 10 September 2009

Empty calories

There’s no denying that the catalogue from Artisan du Chocolat is gorgeous: metallic-embossed covers, thick paper stock, mouth-watering photography. It helps, of course, that the sweets on offer are themselves lovely, as is the product packaging.

And the descriptions of the various chocolate bars, ganaches, and collections are practically Proustian. The Liquorice Couture Chocolate, for instance, offers a “deep chocolate taste followed by a sweet liquorice sensation, like the memory of chewing on a liquorice stick on the way back from school”. The description of the Gingerbread Spices Fushion Bar reads, “The first gingerbread is thought to have been baked by Crusader monks for special occasions. Our white chocolate and gingerbread bar is also reserved for special moments—like a craving for something sweet and comforting.” And then there’s “an earthy salted caramel infused with sage and a hint of thyme. Bitter sage and sweet thyme revealed in succession form layers of flavours and add depth...”

Mmm, you’ve sold me. Let me at those chocolates!

Alas, the perfect-bound, expensively printed catalogue doesn’t include product prices or an order form. Worse, the phone number doesn’t appear until the fourth page from the back, which is also where you find the URL and the addresses of the few London stores. To be fair, the URL is on the back cover as well, but I didn’t notice that until I’d leafed through the entire brochure, expecting to see the web address and the phone number on the footer of each spread.

Artisan du Chocolat clearly invested significant time, talent, and money in creating this marketing piece. And the catalogue certainly does the job of making you want to buy its products. What Artisan du Chocolat fails to do is make it simple for consumers to act on that desire. And because the brochure fails to close the sale, I can’t consider it an effective sales tool.

Now if you’ll excuse me, I need to run to the shop next door and buy myself a chocolate bar.—SC

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