Chocolate brand Tony’s Chocolonely have been forced to apologise after intentionally leaving out the main component of a Christmas advent calendar: the chocolate.

People were left disappointed – and baffled – when door eight of Tony’s Chocolonely advent calendar revealed... Nothing.

However, the chocolate brand reassured their fans the concept was done with good intentions –to highlight inequality in the chocolate-making industry.

“Noticed something different in your calendar today?” They said in a Twitter post. “Yep, it’s empty.. And why? ‘Cos at Tony’s we use our products to tell the story of the choco industry – an industry unequally divided and choc-full of inequality.”

In a statement explaining the stunt, Tony’s Chocolonely said: “At Tony’s we use our products to communicate our mission – to make 100 percent slave free the norm in chocolate...

“So our products, including our countdown calendar, are purposefully designed to be unequally divided.

“Our countdown calendar includes 25 tiny Tony’s split over 24 windows. #8 has no tiny, #9 and #24 have two tinys to illustrate this.”

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The missing chocolate divided the nation, with one person calling the move “smart and cool.”

“Am I a huge scrooge for thinking this is actually quite smart and cool,” they said, “Tony’s has always been super pushy on education around cocoa farming, and the hidden injustices we don’t think about in that industry. It’s a smart stunt, no apology needed?”

However, many parents highlighted how the concept caused a major upset with their children.

One mum took to Tony’s social media page to say: “My eight-year-old daughter was in floods of tears at the disappointment.

“She has ADHD and is awaiting a possible autism diagnosis, so what seems like small upsets to others are a big deal to her.”

Another parent added: “Calendars are for children and tears before school is not ideal. If you want to make a statement, advise (the calendar is) for adults/older children only.”

Luckily, some disappointed adults were able to laugh it off.

Following a large volume of complaints, the company said it accepted that the stunt was “inappropriate and has caused confusion and disappointment”.

In a further statement, it added: “We hoped this would act as a conversation starter between us and our choco fans on email/social media about our mission, but did not anticipate that it might create extra work for our valued retail partners.”

Tony’s also acknowledged that it “failed to consider the difficulties empty windows can cause for our neurodivergent children and adults”.

The intention was there...

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