Branding Agency London – The way you present your brand will define the value of your products and the quality of your services. 3 Colours Rule is a brand design agency. Our London branding consultants have worked in various industries to help businesses stand out from their competition and gain new clients. Click here to find about our branding services and/or to get a complimentary brand review. In this article, we discuss racial branding.
Have you ever heard about Banania? The French brand was born in 1912 and is still selling chocolate drinks today, mostly in France. The name Banania comes from the ingredients used to make the unique chocolate powder: cocoa, honey, cereals, but also banana flour (produced in Africa in those days). Banania is well known in France for two reasons: its unique taste, but also for the scandals due to its advertisements.
A typical advertisement with the Senegalese Trailer
Banania was launched during the colonial era in France. It imposed itself as the leader of chocolate powder in the country because of its strong branding: the company used a racist vision of black people to communicate on its products. The black man rapidly became popular and a strong asset for the company.
The embodiment of the brand is a Senegalese Tirailleur, a soldier from the french colony. He may seem really nice at first sight but in fact the goal of a such expression is to show black people as childish people. The idea was to push the children into buying the chocolate powder by putting a « funny man » on the packaging. The background is always yellow, to remind people the sunny weather of Africa. It also stands for the banana’s peel colour.
The slogan of the brand, « Y’a bon », stands for « C’est bon » (it is nice). This sentence is grammatically incorrect. In implies the soldier does not know how to speak French correctly. The brand emphasised the racist stereotype of dumb black people for years.
The second packaging of the brand was even worse: the Senegalese man was now almost looking like a monkey. The purpose was to make white people laugh by mocking the poor man, especially the children (again).The fact remains that is was a really off-limit communication.
In the 70’s, more and more people started criticising the racist vision of the brand.
Banania had a lot of trials and almost went bankrupt because of it. The packaging changed, but the colonial vision was still here. The brand abandoned the Senegalese tirailleur for a sun with a smiling face, but the identity of the brand had was not as strong as it used to be anymore.
The brand left its baseline in 2011. Banania’s character had also been changed: it is now a Senegalese teenager, adventurous and really smart who lives adventures with its friends from all over the world. The brand proceed a strong brand revamp and did apologise in public for racism connotation.
Today, Banania is still the embodiment of the colonial Era in France. The taste is still the same than the beginning one but the product has lost all racist implement. People see Banania as the testimony of a former era. Since the brand has changed its way to communicate, the chocolate powder has been popular again.
And you? What do you think of this brand? Should French people have abandoned it?0