Cadbury's message of post-lockdown hope wins TV creativity prize

VCCP's ad for Cadbury reminds us that not all aspects of lockdown living need to end and wins the latest Thinkboxes award for TV creativity.

Cadbury's message of post-lockdown hope wins TV creativity prize

'This doesn’t need to end’ by VCCP for Cadbury shows raw examples of thoughtfulness for others during lockdown living - and encourages us not to let that end. The ad was voted by the Thinkbox Academy to be the best that debuted in May and June.

The brief sprang directly from the lockdown experience. "We were struck by the countless amazing stories all around the country of neighbours and friends looking out for each other in lockdown. And that really chimed with the Cadbury purpose - to inspire a little more goodness in the world," says Mie-Leng Wong, head of global brands at Mondelez.

"In a time that often felt really bleak and gloomy, we wanted to shine a light on those moments, so our brief was to celebrate that generosity of spirit and remind everyone it could carry on even after the crisis had ended."

The agency had been working on the brief for a couple of weeks when Tom Sweetland, the director represented by Clouded Vision, approached VCCP creative directors Chris Birch and Jonny Parker with some clips he had shot in lockdown.

Sweetland was filming "in the freshest, most honest way imaginable," said VCCP executive creative director Darren Bailes. "People appraising the situation. Chris and Jonny fell in love with these authentic stories and thought ‘how can we tilt this to show the real good feeling that is out there in this terrible situation?’"

TV is the lead channel for Cadbury’s storytelling communications as it provides a platform to tell its emotional "There’s a glass and a half in everyone" stories to a broad reach. But this time, the usual choice of 60" edit was replaced with a 90" spot. The longer commercial would mark a moment in time and tell an authentic, delicate story which needed room to unfold, breathe and document many individuals’ perspectives.

The first sell to the Cadbury client team was unusual in that it involved presenting pieces of film.
"The clients had the same reaction to us," remembers Bailes. "They were moved by the rawness and the stories and wanted to make the film happen, so they quickly championed the film internally with key stakeholders. Time was of the essence - we weren’t sure how long we were going to be in lockdown for."

Sweetland created a short edit of reference imagery for the style of the film he was looking to achieve and shared it on a WhatsApp group with 15 DOPs before each of them went off to shoot content in their local area.

"Footage was coming in throughout the day and then Tom and (the editor) Toby Dashwood started to edit it to tell the story. The whole process was surprisingly very seamless," says Bailes. Creative directors Birch and Parker worked closely with Sweetland to ensure the small, everyday, generous moments, such as calling your grandad or picking up shopping for a neighbour, were the clear take-out from the film.

Carat cherry-picked premium spots in the UK’s biggest-rating programming. The 90" film launched in Gogglebox on Friday May 1st, and, to amplify the spot, the talent in the Gogglebox show Tweeted about the ad while the programme was being aired. A 60" cutdown ran in Britain’s Got Talent the following weekend and it was supported on YouTube and Samba TV throughout May.

The ad struck a chord with the public and within the industry, Bailes says. "The reaction was amazing, Most people wanted to know how we’d done it, given lockdown. We suppose the very unique way it was shot, mixed in with people literally living the feelings in the film, was a perfect storm. We managed to be in real people’s homes, hearing their real stories. People responded very emotionally to this authenticity."

It was that authenticity of the film that the agency-and-client-team are most pleased with. Using real people, with no actors or set design, the ad reflected exactly what was happening and how people were feeling in the height of lockdown - plus it was true to the brand message that "there’s a glass and a half in everyone."

It was, says Bailes, "a very unique moment captured in a very unique way."

Second place in the May-June Thinkboxes award went to 'Did somebody say Just Eat?' for Just East by McCann London and third to 'Getting Ready' for Maltesers by AMV BBDO.

Also shortlisted were ‘Here to solve’ for British Gas by The&Partnership and ‘A little brighter inside’ for TikTok by Social Lab.


Agency: VCCP 
Creative team: Darren Bailes, ECD; Chris Birch and Jonny Parker, creative directors 
Client: Mie-Leng Wong, head of global brands, Mondelez; Sam Greenwood, global brand director, Cadbury and Colin O’Toole, associate marketing director, Cadbury Equity (UK) 
Production company: Clouded Vision 
Director: Tom Sweetland

The Thinkboxes, in association with Campaign, are the only bi-monthly awards that celebrate the UK’s world-beating TV ad creativity, in all its forms. They are judged by the Thinkbox Academy – 200 advertising and marketing luminaries who have been involved in award-winning creative work for TV.

Want to see more great work? Head to the Thinkboxes hub

Thinkbox is the marketing body for commercial TV in the UK, in all its forms. Its shareholders are Channel 4, ITV, Sky Media, WarnerMedia and UKTV. Thinkbox works with the marketing community with a single ambition: to help advertisers get the best out of today’s TV.

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