Gorillas, milk and airports: Part 2 on Cadbury’s Comms.

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This is the second in a 2-part post on the comms. strategy of Cadbury Dairy Milk chocolate. Last week we looked at the first part of their comms. strategy, which is the sizzling emotional bit. This used TV ads to dramatise the idea of “a glass and a half of pure joy”: episode 1 featured a drumming gorilla, and episode 2 racing trucks at an airport.

The second part of the CDM comms. approach is single-mindeldy focused on the product “sausage”. It takes the form of really impactful full-page press adverts promoting the message that CDM is made with real milk, not milk powder. These use a milk bottle, with a Cadbury branded foil top, and distinctive purple back-drop.


Some thoughts on why I like this:
1. Focused message: rather than trying to get everything across in a single ad, the brand has focused TV on emotional entertainment. And press hammers home a product message. This was an approach also used by P&G back in the Victorian era when I worked there. On Head & Shoulders we use a product demo ad with a “half-head” (half washed in H&S, half in normal shampoo), and another one with celebrities trying to put a little bit of aspiration into the brand, or at least make it less embarassing to buy.

This approach has the big benefit of creating single-minded communication. A common issue with any comms. brief is the multiplication of objectives, leading to communication that lacks impact.
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2. Proud of a lovely product truth: it is great to see a brand that makes such a story out its product truth. Cadbury really do celebrate the “glass and a half of milk”, and have been doing so for decades. Interestingly, they are a celebrating a truth which is in a way counter-trend. The hot part of the market is high cocoa, dark chocolate. Whereas Cadbury is very milky. But they have rightly decided that there are plenty of people who still like their milky Cadbury.

The glass and a half is on the pack, used in advertising and is also very prominent on the website as you can see here on the right. The website again splits into two main bits: i) plenty of space for the 2 adverts, Gorilla and Trucks. You can even link out of the site to some of the many remixes of the Gorilla ad on You Tube; ii) a whole section with some lovely film footage of the history of CDM, and the “Home of the Cows” that explains the product magic.

3. Clever use of media:
Hats off to Cadbury for the good use of media. The TV ads are cinematic and use long time-lengths. The press ads are highly impactful, and have “stopping power”. The magazine I saw the ad in repeated the “event-style” communication approach of the TV ads by using a gatefold, 3-page execution. This must of cost a packet, but it hopefully pays off with increased impact and memorability.

4. Lovely execution: There is real craft in the press ads. Not just some standard, boring product message with a glass and a half of milk. They have created a distinctive, ownable visual device with the milk bottle on a purple background.

So, taking the CDM comms. approach as a whole, I think Phil Rumbol and his team deserve a round of applause. The Gorilla ad is the thing people talk about, a bit like the Evolution viral ad for Dove. However, when you dig deeper there is much more to it:
– Anchored on a great product truth
– Sticking to what made the brand famous, but making it relevant for today
– Breathing life into an established brand, that could have been in danger of loosing relevance in the face of stiff competition from premium brands like Green & Black’s (though Cadbury win there as they bought it)
– Clever use of media
– Real crafting of the execution
– And, perhaps most important of all, balls to do something brave and get noticed. If you can’t be seen, you can’t be bought, as my mate Lars said.