Cadbury Is Too Cool For School.

For some reason Cadbury bars, which are, I think, as synonymous with chocolate in Britain as Hershey bars are here, are kind of hard to find around here. About the only time I see anything made by Cadbury is either in the “imports” section of the grocery or around Easter when they start selling crème eggs. Maybe that’ll change, though, with Cadbury’s new cool image that’s helping the company’s sales. It might have changed a few months ago when Kraft tried to buy Cadbury but was turned down. And that’s a good thing. Honestly, can you imagine what the same company that makes Velveeta would do to Cadbury bars?

Anyway, as Marketplace reports, Cadbury has run two new cool ads, neither one of which actually tells you anything about Cadbury bars. The one with the gorilla is kind of weird and funny, but I really prefer this one with the racing airport vehicles:

[kml_flashembed movie="http://www.youtube.com/v/BGYMMsPg_ME" width="425" height="350" wmode="transparent" /]

Ben Walker, who’s with a British advertising agency, said, “I would imagine a couple of years ago my perception of Cadbury might have been slightly old and fusty…” And even though he says he loved the gorilla ad, the fact that it doesn’t say anything about Cadbury bars made him ask “is that a good advert?” Apparently it was good: Cadbury’s sales went up by more than ten percent.

This is a company that’s been around since 1824, and while it’s hard not to get fusty when you’re almost two-hundred years old, it’s great that Cadbury is finding ways to reinvent itself. The ads almost seem like they’re promoting Cadbury’s coolness. The message could be, “We don’t need to tell you what a Cadbury bar is. Here’s a funny movie.”

One thing I’m pretty sure has changed, though, is that Cadbury doesn’t use random groups of school kids as focus groups. This was something they did even before “focus groups” became common parlance. Roald Dahl writes about this in his book Boy. Every kid at his school would get a plain cardboard box of twelve chocolate bars, and they “knew intimately every chocolate bar in existence”. Cadbury used Dahl and his fellow students as testers, and, I think, this was really the beginning of his career as a writer, since they’d have to write comments about each bar they tried. He says “Too subtle for the common palate” was one comment he remembers writing, and then adds,

I have no doubt at all that, thirty-five years later, when I was looking for a plot for my second book for children, I remembered those little cardboard boxes and the newly-invented chocolates inside them, and I began to write a book called Charlie and the Chocolate Factory.

Even though it inspired at least one great writing career the risks of throwing chocolate bars at a random group of kids today would just be too great, but that’s okay. Cadbury is old school and still cool.