BITTER Chocolate Stories

BITTER Chocolate Stories

Combining portraits of 15 former child labourers and interviews with the children and other actors in the industry, the exhibition, website and book provide an insight into the complexities of a product many of us take for granted. 

In the campaign the portraits of the children (shot on location by a West-African photographer) show them from the back, looking away from the camera. When they  reveal their story in the interviews they turn around to face the audience.

In the exhibition and book these portraits and stories are mixed with typical words connected to chocolate chosen from international chocolate advertising campaigns (o.a. JOY,TRUE, EMOTIONS, LOVE, PARADISE).

The project consists of a traveling  exhibition (first venue at Beurs van Berlage Amsterdam October 2017) a project website and an extensive printed publication. The supporting campaign used o.a. outdoor posters and project related imprint on the inside of Tony's Chocolonely chocolate bar wrappers.


BITTER Chocolate Stories is a project that, through a documentary approach in words and images, reveals the true story (and struggle) behind one of the most well known chocolate brands in the Netherlands, which existence is directly connected to improving working conditions on cocoa plantations. In order to succeed in this approach, a willingness on the client's side to really come clean and paint an honest picture of the state of current affairs is vital.

We associate chocolate with celebration, comfort, romance. But do we ever associate it with the farmers, and often children, who literally make the product possible? West Africa produces almost three quarters of the world's cocoa, 70 % of which is consumed in Europe and North America. More than 2 million child labourers work on cocoa plantations in Ghana and the Ivory Coast alone. Who are these children and why do they do this work?

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Jury feedback


Everything feels well adjusted. The book is very well made and the added campaign works really well. The posters pull you in to the story in the book.