Adwatch: Cadbury's 'Mum's birthday' spot from VCCP is emotionally nourishing

Richard Storey, the global chief strategy officer at M&C Saatchi, thinks that VCCP's Cadbury spot hits the right emotional notes.

Well done VCCP and Cadbury for a commercial that makes no rational sense, and yet is compelling on multiple emotional levels.

"There’s a glass and a half in everyone" is utter nonsense when you reason with it. A glass-and-a-half of what exactly? And who would reasonably be convinced that "the equivalent of 426ml of fresh liquid milk in every 227g of milk chocolate" might be responsible for spontaneous displays of love and kindness?  

Fortunately, Cadbury has long since moved on from rational justification of "glass and a half" and on to the power its chocolate commands over our feelings.  Whether that be outright joy or this slightly sloppier form of goo.

It’s well documented that emotionally based advertising is more powerful than rational, claims-based approaches.  This then is a masterful demonstration of that truth. 

We are rewarded with the product as a thoughtful birthday gift, proving that those 426ml of milk do indeed render us all more emotionally nourished.  Ahhh!

Its success is all down to the clever use of ingredients.

First, a measure of sympathy for the obviously struggling, but heart-in-the-right-place mother. Add half a glass of social alienation in our divided nation. Bring to the boil with our young heroine; naive but plucky, penniless but rich in human kindness. Exert pressure throughout the ‘negotiation’, with our girl needing to dig deep to secure the deal. Sweeten the result with the return of her beloved pony as ‘change’. Emotional priming even Richard Curtis would be proud of. 

We are rewarded with the product as a thoughtful birthday gift, proving that those 426ml of milk do indeed render us all more emotionally nourished. Ahhh!

This is unlikely to trouble creative awards juries, but manages top spot for likeability in the public vote. 

There will come a day when associating an unhealthy product with such emotive reward is no longer legitimate, in much the same way it is with alcohol. Until then, Cadbury is milking it.

Adwatch research is conducted via an internet omnibus survey among 1000 GB adults, aged 16-64, through Research Express, part of Kantar TNS, one of the world’s leading data, insight & consulting agencies. Data supplied by Ebiquity. 

Richard Storey is the global chief strategy officer at M&C Saatchi

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