Behind the Idea: Why Cadbury is lost for words

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Last month, Cadbury launched a campaign with Age UK to raise awareness about the issue of loneliness amongst older people and encourage the nation to get involved by 'donating their words'.

This week, the latest stage of the work was unveiled with details of comedian Sue Perkins spending 30 hours in isolation to highlight the fact that 225,000 older people in the UK can go an entire week without speaking to anyone.

Chris Birch and Jonny Parker, creative directors at VCCP, explain the different parts of the campaign below including how they removed some of the branding from Dairy Milk chocolate bars and gained exposure on a reality TV show.

What was the brief?

Working to the new Cadbury brand line ‘There’s a glass & a half in everyone’, we wanted to create an activation that would support the launch of our Fence TVC. The film is a touching story about a lonely old guy that lives next door to a couple of rowdy kids.

He spends his life returning their toys until one day they throw over something for him to keep. A bar of Dairy Milk. Watch the film. It’s way better than my description. So, the question was what can we do to get the public involved? How can we prove that there really is a glass & a half in everyone?

How did the initial conversations for the campaign go?

We chose loneliness in old age as our focal point and discovered a shocking truth that 225,000 old people often go a whole week without speaking to anyone. Imagine that? We wanted to help these older people who are effectively wordless and inspire the nation to help them too.

Tell us a bit more about the concept?

We set out to make a real difference to real people’s lives. First, we wanted to use our profile to raise awareness, and then we wanted to give people the means to do something about it.

Donate Your Words became our call to arms. And to kick the conversation off we donated the words from our Dairy Milk bars to raise awareness of those without words in their lives. The only thing that remained on the iconic purple pack was the glass and a half icon.

Image result for cadbury donate your words

As well as the brand donating their words, we wanted to give the nation a chance to get involved too so on Twitter and Facebook we encouraged them to ‘donate their words’.

By committing to everyday actions such as paying an elderly neighbour a visit or giving your nan a phone call, people all over the country can make a difference to the lives of older people in their communities and this then proves there really is a glass and a half in everyone.


What was the production process like?

We worked on the campaign for roughly a year and there were lots of production challenges from perfecting the design of the pack to getting all the fabric of the nation true-to-life nuances right in Fence.

The biggest challenge for us was ensuring all the elements within the campaign focused on the issue of wordlessness amongst older people and landed our brand message: ‘there’s a glass & a half in everyone’.

We had to be really disciplined to ensure everything married up - from our partnership with Gogglebox, getting Sue Perkins to live in isolation for 30 hours, right through to our Twitter activity and bot.

Why is the main message of the campaign so important?

In a world that can seem increasingly selfish the generous acts are harder to spot, but they are there, happening every day in all walks of life. That's why we say, ‘there’s a Glass & a half in everyone'.

Why will the final assets resonate with consumers?

Because the stories are human, down-to-earth and from the heart. Fence is a story based on a universal insight - something we knew would resonate with everyone.

The ‘donate your words’ activation took a tension in society - loneliness amongst older people - and applied our generous instinct positioning to this. We believe that deep down people are good at heart, so we felt strongly that the nation would want to get involved and ‘donate their words’.


What’s the most interesting thing or unique fact about the campaign?

Taking everything off our pack was interesting. There aren’t many brands that could do that and still be recognised. It was a brave and bold move but one that says a lot about Cadbury as a brand.

How long did it take to make from inception to delivery?

Around a year. It feels like a lifetime. I guess the majority of the time was spent sweating the details and simplifying. It’s easy to create a million assets when you have a strong idea. It’s hard to cull them to keep the message pure.



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