Driving down through Pennsylvania state towards the American capital travel agents were unanimous in their recommendations of this tourist mecca built around one of America’s most recognizable brands. Hershey’s Chocolate World symbolizes everything that American capitalism and branding stands for, the original owner being made a legendary benevolent hero and the company representing the fulfillment of the American dream, to a somewhat embarrassing extent.
Yet, even one not immersed in the commercial brainwashing of those over-sweet chocolate products cannot help but stand back in awe to how well they’ve been able to brand this company. After a 3D movie, an amusement-park ride of an automated show-factory, and the repeating “we love Hershey” songs and videos playing in the background, I – too – was a follower. “Amen to Hershey Kiss”, “all hail Kit Kat”, “in Hershey Milk Chocolate we believe” I felt myself mutter with absolute conviction while lining up at the Hershey store to buy a life-time supply of that richness softy milky smoothy textury American dreamy thingy.
If it wasn’t was for my companion insisting he’s bored out of his freaking mind, I probably would stayed there for good singing songs of brand love and staring at the photo of the confident Mr. Hershey who I have – by then – decided to devote my life to. It was only long kilometers away from the factory with the after-taste of the chocolate washed away by my addiction to another horrible American branded drink that was I able to restore a partial state of lucidity. My occasional loss of memory and misdirection every time I see the letter “H” is perhaps an indication that my mind can’t help but lone to go back to that wonderful place where American dreams comes true. Lucky for me I live in Asia where Hershey isn’t doing very well and the letter H is not so commonly used.
Not that familiar with Hershey? Dear God! Let me try and rectify that foreign ignorance of yours (Wikipedia) :
The Hershey Company, known until April 2005 as the Hershey Foods Corporation and commonly called Hershey’s, is the largest chocolate manufacturer in North America. Its headquarters are in Hershey, Pennsylvania, which is also home to Hershey’s Chocolate World. It was founded by Milton S. Hershey in 1894 as the Hershey Chocolate Company, a subsidiary of his Lancaster Caramel Company. Hershey’s products are sold in about sixty countries worldwide.
Hershey is one of the oldest chocolate companies in the United States, and an American icon for its chocolate bar. It is one of a group of companies established by Milton Hershey. Other Milton Hershey-established companies include Hershey Trust Company, and Hershey Entertainment and Resorts Company, which runs Hersheypark, a chocolate-themed amusement park, the Hershey Bears minor professional hockey team, Hersheypark Stadium and the GIANT Center. Most of the employees for the factory come from the surrounding counties, towns, and boroughs, such as Lebanon County, Hummelstown, South Hanover, and Harrisburg. Hershey’s labor practices and its failure to adopt fair trade policies to has made the company a target of criticism.
If you want a more invigorating history of Hershey and his company, the Hershey company site would be happy to get you hooked.
Ready to get brainwashed with North America’s biggest chocolate manufacturer?
To understand the extent of Hershey’s branding all you need is to watch one of their many American dream commercials, strangely nostalgic for me from my short time as a kid in the states :
“The great American chocolate bar!”.
What about Chocolate World? you ask?
“Chocolate Chocolate, we love Chocolate. The sweet sweet world of Chocolate… is HERE!” (video)
The simulated factory…
And the nearby factory store.
The compound has an amusement park nearby, which I skipped. You can easily spend a day… or a lifetime… visiting the place. On the other hand, my companion would probably say even 2 minutes is too much.