How Cadbury went on the hunt to grow Creme Egg sales

Building on the success of the Creme Egg Hunting Season, Cadbury decided to up the ante in 2019 by joining forces with the likes of Unilever and LVMH in a bid to drive sales.

Creme EggEmbarking on the third year of the Creme Egg Hunting Season, Cadbury ran into a problem. With a flat budget, longer Easter season and nothing new to talk about, the brand knew it needed to reinvent the game.

The trick was working out how to up the ante. Cadbury Creme Egg already had 91% awareness over the Easter period and was able to trade off its scarcity, given that the product is only available from January to Easter.

The idea of being available for a limited time only was the original inspiration behind the Creme Egg Hunting Season campaign introduced in 2017. Riffing off this concept, in 2018 consumers were encouraged to hunt for the rare white Creme Egg.

So, in 2019 the team were wrestling with how to get more consumers involved and sell more eggs, as well as engage the 16- to 34-year-old age group. Insight suggested that while this younger demographic are typically switching away from traditional media and using ad blockers, they enjoy rich brand experiences.

Based on this insight, Cadbury and its media agency Carat decided to use the limited edition white Creme Egg again, but this time to hide the eggs in other brands’ adverts and websites.

The biggest challenge the team found was negotiating partnerships with 16 unrelated brands and persuading them to take part in the hunt. The negotiating stance was simple – if they worked with Cadbury consumers would be looking at their adverts more intensely than before.

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Based on this premise, the team managed to sign up Google, Unilever, LVMH, Lionsgate, Tesco and Honda. Cosmetics brand Benefit even hid eggs across its own website.

With the partners in place, Cadbury drove awareness that the hunt was back and explained what people had to do, but crucially did not yet reveal the special location of the eggs. Then in phase two, Creme Eggs were hidden in the print, digital and outdoor adverts of the partner brands.

Consumers simply had to find an egg, take a picture and upload it to There they could digitally unwrap it to discover whether they had uncovered a rare white Creme Egg or won a cash prize of £10,000.

The hunt is on

Clues were posted across social media hinting which brands might be hiding the eggs. On YouTube, Cadbury used the first un-skippable five seconds of ad space to signpost that an opportunity to hunt was coming and that the egg was hidden in the following skippable seconds.

The MailOnline ran a Creme Egg ‘Scour Hour’ across three pages, including the homepage, following readers across their journey on the site. The first message drove awareness of the hunt, the second told the consumer they were ‘warmer’ to the page hiding the egg and on the final page the team hid the egg. Other placements gave clues to different locations where eggs were hidden, thus driving more attention to the partners’ ads.

Cadbury also joined forces with the Metro and Time Out to hide eggs both within content and adverts. Inside the magazines, readers were given hints that they were getting ‘warmer’ or ‘colder’ to the page with the egg.

Across outdoor the team used a range of large format sites in high footfall locations, including the 16 panel site at London’s Waterloo Station. To drive urgency, Cadbury also erected point-of-sale panels outside retailers, using live poster technology to countdown the days left and the number of eggs remaining in that particular region.

The hidden egg hunt was a hit. Cadbury received more than 635,000 entries in just three months and increased Creme Egg sales by 45% compared to 2018, significant growth for a brand that is already number one over the Easter period.

The campaign, which saw Cadbury win the 2019 Marketing Week Masters award for sponsorship and partner marketing, increased dwell time on the partners’ ads by up to 10 times. In addition, the search for the Creme Egg stopped consumers skipping ads, achieving view-through rates of 44% on YouTube, compared to the 10% to 15% benchmark.