Editor's Comment: What's the big idea, Cadbury?

Noelle McElhatton
Noelle McElhatton

For the biggest brands, marketing is not a 100-metre sprint, but a marathon. A fitting analogy, perhaps, when one considers how brands are exploiting their relationship with the 2012 London Olympics.

Take Cadbury. It is a member of that exclusive club of much-loved, home-grown brands that is woven into the fabric of a nation. It will surprise no one that Cadbury is a sponsor of London's Museum Of Brands, where one can follow the long history of its products through its packaging and advertising.

And of course, that's the point. How does a company make sure its brands stay relevant to a contemporary audience and not be relegated to the shelves of an academic archive?

For Cadbury, this is a constant battle. The origins of the headline-grabbing 2007 'Gorilla' ad, it is said, was a brutally simple brief: 'Our product isn't talked about any more. Make some noise.'

The chatter now is all about social media, despite the risk of GMOOT (Get Me One Of Those) syndrome, where a Facebook page or Twitter strategy is deployed regardless of its relevance to a brand's audience.

Where is the strategy? Where is the idea? Well, Cadbury thinks it is onto a winner with its 'Spots V Stripes' Olympics tie-in (see analysis, page 14).

The question is, does it have enough talkability and playfulness to engage its audience online? With some 480 days to the opening ceremony, the jury is very much still out. Cadbury may have taken its eye off the ball, becoming more excited about the medium than the message.

Engagement isn't just a fashionable word in the marketing lexicon; it's about the fundamentals of what persuades a consumer to give up their time to an advertiser. Cadbury needs to dig a little deeper if it's going to stay in the race.


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