Marketing Challenge: How Cadbury is capitalising on the short Creme Egg season

With Easter approaching, Meg Carter reports on why Cadbury hopes DRTV will boost its Creme Egg sales.

With Easter approaching, Meg Carter reports on why Cadbury hopes

DRTV will boost its Creme Egg sales.

Cadbury’s Creme Eggs are an unashamedly seasonal product. Released on to

the market just after Christmas each year, supplies are stopped at

Easter and on-shelf stocks are left to run their natural course. So,

with almost all activity concentrated in the first quarter of the year,

Cadbury’s marketing spend must work especially hard - and so the

confectioner is developing a number of ways in which its campaign can

deliver through the line.

The 1997 campaign broke on 1 January and television and newspaper ads

featuring the comedian, Matt Lucas - better known as ’George Dawes’ from

the BBC2 series, Shooting Stars - are running in three bursts up to


At the same time, viewers are invited to respond to a direct response TV

element carried by calling a Creme Egg telephone line.

Once in the shop, consumers are confronted with elaborate point-of-sale

materials, including a ’pick an egg’ spinner which selects one of six

ways to eat a Cadbury’s Creme Egg (from ’eat it in slow motion’ to

’nibble it and suck out the middle’). One ’spinner’ enables shoppers to

spin an arrow; a more sophisticated gizmo responds with flashing lights.

All point-of-sale items are tailored to a particular part of Cadbury’s

business - cash and carry, wholesale, grocery or impulse.

The campaign has been supported by cover-mounted ’spinners’ on selected

magazines. The total spend is estimated at pounds 3 to pounds 4 million

- a figure that has remained relatively constant although Mike Falconer,

the account director at Cadbury’s ad agency, GGT, says: ’This year,

Cadbury’s money is working harder than ever.’

DRTV is being used for the first time and care has been taken to ensure

all activity links to a unifying theme - ’how will you eat yours?’ - a

minute update of the previous ’how do you eat yours?’ strapline.

’The campaign has run for six years and has evolved through two distinct

stages,’ Falconer says. ’First, there was the horoscope strategy, then

work featuring Spitting Image models. For 1997, our brief was to refine

this theme and make consumers feel involved.’

Cadbury’s Creme Egg has always enjoyed ’rounded marketing’ because of

its seasonal product cycle, Falconer says. Each year, the process moves

from reminding the consumer of the product, encouraging purchases in the

run-up to Easter and, at the eleventh hour, warning that the Creme Egg

season will soon be over. Last year, sales amounted to some pounds 45

million - a similar level to Cadbury’s Caramel and Crunch, although

unlike these two products, the performance of Creme Eggs depends on

business across only a portion of each year.

’Our aim is to continue growing Cadbury’s Creme Eggs, but our particular

challenge is the limited season - New Year to Easter - which this year

is very short with Good Friday falling on 28 March,’ Peter Creighton,

the marketing controller of Cadbury, says. The move towards greater

integration is designed to maximise the potential of every pound spent,

he adds.

’This campaign, which is designed to keep Cadbury’s Creme Eggs up to

date, is our most integrated to date. In the past, although we have used

both television and point of sale, the communication message has not

been so directly linked.’

Now, all materials share the same theme driven by the tone and style of

GGT’s above-the-line campaign.

DRTV has added an extra dimension, Falconer says. ’It was designed to

get people to do something.’ Without either a promise of any product,

perk or discount, 35,000 have so far used the line.

All hear an extension of the TV campaign with Lucas extolling the

versions of an additional selection of ways in which to eat the


Callers were not required to leave their name or address.

Activities, although co-ordinated centrally, were developed by a team

comprising GGT, the below-the-line specialist, BDP, and in-house

designers. TMD Carat handled media. Each element had to create a feeling

of excitement.

’Creme Eggs are far more successful when there is a build up of

excitement and anticipation because their shelf life is limited. In the

late 80s, attempts were made to relax this and make them an

all-year-round purchase but sales slipped as a result. We encouraged

Cadbury to tighten up and business has grown,’ Falconer adds.

Sara Thatcher, the account director at BDP, also believes the current

campaign is the most integrated yet for the product. ’Our work is

closely co-ordinated by the in-house display department at Cadbury, but

although we’ve also worked closely with external agencies, it has gone


BDP’s role was strategic, she adds: ’It was our responsibility to get

all elements working below the line and ensure everything matched the

overall campaign.’

The end result is certainly more involving and contemporary than past

initiatives, she believes. ’The choice of character was a wise move -

someone who appeals to kids but is known to adults as well. And the

campaign is daring enough to bring out many of his quirky aspects,


Although qualitative data is yet to be gathered, performance of the

quantative DRTV element is one clear indicator: ’So far, we are 25 per

cent ahead of forecasts,’ she says.

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