Cadbury: Purpose should be ‘far greater than a campaign’

After seeing declining sales of Dairy Milk, Cadbury examined its brand DNA to come up with a new purpose based around generosity, which it could enact across the business, not just in campaigns.

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Cadbury’s brand purpose for Dairy Milk is not a device for advertising campaigns, or something to pick up that speaks to causes but something that is rooted in the very “reason it exists”, according to the brand’s marketing lead.

Speaking today (18 May) on a panel at Advertising Week Europe in London,  Mondelez senior marketing director Dave Clements explained how the ‘Glass and a half in everyone’ brand platform helped Cadbury’s Dairy Milk brand  return to growth.

“For me it is far greater than just a campaign, it’s literally everything that we do,” he said.

Glass and a half in everyone, which was created in partnership with VCCP, was introduced in 2018 when the brand was at a low ebb. According to last year’s IPA Effectiveness Award submission, 2 million British households had stopped buying Cadbury Dairy Milk in the two years before the change in direction.

The platform calls back to Cadbury’s Quaker origins with its focus on generosity, with the underlying message there’s a generous instinct within everyone. Advertising features acts of giving. The purpose, to inspire others to be more generous.

The campaign is credited with helping add an additional £261m in revenue for Cadbury.

Clements said: “Purpose has obviously been a much-debated topic in this sphere over the last couple of years and you see a lot of brands attaching themselves to specific events or causes that are one off things, which I think loses the authenticity.”

He was speaking alongside team members from VCCP who took on the account. Planning director Ollie Gilmore said Cadbury was “a national treasure in decline”.

Ten years earlier, Cadbury had launched one of its most famous campaigns ‘Gorilla’, in partnership with then agency Fallon.

“It’s a phenomenal piece of work and had huge levels of fame and cut-through, but there’s a sense of that being just quite hard to follow up continued success,” Gilmore said. “Also, the broader platform of ‘Joy’ that came with Gorilla had just become quite wacky, and a bit vague.”

Clements concurred that Joy missed the the mark when it came to authentically connecting to the reason why the brand exists.

“There is a lot of joy in terms of the things that we do but it just wasn’t true to the DNA of us as a brand,” he said.

Cadbury, working with VCCP, spent time looking at its archives and focusing on the core of the brand’s values. Looking back at the brand’s history, with the philanthropic work that the Cadbury family had done, and the moments that the brand was enjoyed by consumers, whether that be Christmas or Easter, or sharing a bar between friends; the idea of generosity fit with the brand’s DNA, Clements said.

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Cadbury will be 200 years old in 2024, and Clements said he and his fellow brand marketers take their roles as “custodians” very seriously. Due to this role as guardians of the brand is important that the purpose of generosity under the There’s a glass and a half in everyone platform is not a fleeting activation.

“This isn’t just something that we’ll get bored off, or just move on from,” he said. “You can see the way that this is going to build out for years and years to come.”

He said there are “huge opportunities” under the purpose platform, particularly going into next year, when the brand will be celebrating 200 years of existence.

“I think it’s going to be the biggest thing that I work on in my career,” said Clements. “The challenge for us is, why do people care about it?”