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Visionary Thinking

CADBURY UNWRAPPED – How the brand’s ‘stillness’ strategy unlocked £261 million of revenue.

We felt there was an opportunity to be more human and more real and relatable.

Ever seen a guerrilla play the drums? Thanks to Cadbury, you probably have.

Over the years, the chocolate brand’s advertising has featured many memorable moments. Besides the impressively percussive primate, two siblings with manically-dancing eyebrows spring to mind. But, more recently, the Uxbridge confectioner has abandoned zany spectacle for something entirely different. In a word – ‘stillness.’

Within a media landscape saturated with social-media-driven stupidity, the Cadbury ad agency, VCCP, have understood a simple truth – the way to stand-out is to stand still.

According to The Grocer, “The ‘Glass and a Half’ ads look and feel like nothing else on television or social media. Their quiet intimacy is a 180-degree turn from the busy, needy, noisy vibe of most modern advertising. Seeing a Cadbury spot in an ad break full of hammering beats, rapid-fire editing and screaming text is like hearing a folk song at a rave.”

And this Zen-like strategy is paying huge commercial dividends.

The Grocer again, “The push is credited with reversing a declining brand, raising penetration of Dairy Milk to record levels and boosting revenue by £261m over the four years it’s been running.”

So much so, that the VCCP-created campaign won last year’s Grand Prix at the Institute of Practitioners in Advertising’s prestigious annual effectiveness awards.

If you have seen the ads, you’ll know that gifting is at the centre of the narrative – a girl buys chocolate for her mum, two young lads give their elderly neighbour a bar of Dairy Milk, and so on.

As Global Brand Director Ben Wicks told Campaign magazine, “We felt there was an opportunity to be more human and more real and relatable. That’s to put human insight back in the heart of the storytelling and to make sure the chocolate plays an important role in the way the story unfolds.”

But I think Cadbury’s guerrilla can feel a little hard done by. Watch his old spot on You Tube and you’ll discover that the power of the creative relies on him doing absolutely nothing for the first sixty seconds. From his pioneering ‘stillness,’ in fact.

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