As well as appearing to mark a significant change in strategy for Cadbury, which has traditionally advertised its lines individually, the new campaign is also the first significant work to emerge from both Publicis, which won the global brand assignment at the end of 2002, and Starcom Motive, which won the media brief last year.
Cadbury is the UK market leader - its 28.4 per cent market share is nearly two percentage points clear of its nearest rival, Masterfoods, so the decision to adopt this new strategy seems to be a brave one, particularly as the reaction to the new commercials has been mixed.
Publicis' campaign is certainly a strange one; it uses animatronic animals as metaphors for the happiness of consuming Cadbury's chocolate. The spot for the Flake brand, traditionally a female product, features a puma, and the one for the more masculine Cadbury's Dairy Milk features a sheep.
It also follows an attempt by Nestle, the third-biggest player in the chocolate market with a 22.1 per cent share, to kick-start growth for some of its ailing brands with a new strategy for Kit Kat that saw the end of its long-running "have a break, have a Kit Kat" endline.
The Cadbury campaign kicked off on 11 August with the two TV ads running top and tail in ITV1's Cadbury-sponsored Coronation Street, as well as in Hollyoaks on Channel 4, The Simpsons on Sky One and Home & Away on five. Subsequently, the two ads will run on their own until December.
According to Matt Willson, the Cadbury group account director at Starcom Motive, a broad schedule of programmes and channels have been selected for the TV campaign, which will also appear on E4, ITV2, Living TV and UKTV Gold, to reflect Cadbury's products' broad appeal.
Willson says the strategy behind the campaign is to build a brand profile across Cadbury's portfolio. In order to reinforce this, a press campaign kicked off at the beginning of September with ads in a range of titles including Heat, New Woman, Cosmopolitan, OK! and Eve, to support Cadbury's boxed variants, Flake Moments and Roses Luxury Collections. This will also run until the end of the year.
Outdoor is also a feature of the schedule. Starcom Motive has planned and bought a three-week national outdoor campaign for Dairy Milk Wafers, with 96-sheets announcing the brand, supplemented by a six-sheet campaign in retail locations, although skewed toward convenience stores rather than supermarkets.
While it would be impossible to miss the new work, in reality the media strategy is an extension of the Coronation Street sponsorship, which has attempted to create an overarching Cadbury brand strategy while also showcasing existing lines. But with so much to play for, maybe Cadbury can't be blamed for playing it relatively safe.
Media: TV, outdoor, press
Agencies: Publicis, Starcom Motive
Media idea: Communicate the Cadbury masterbrand rather than each