How to destroy an expensive marketing campaign – Cadbury story

Cadbury, India’s #1 chocolate brand relaunched its Bournville brand of dark chocolates in India in 2009. This was backed by a campaign with a punchline of  “You don’t buy a Bournville you earn it” .

They used a tv commercial showing an American travel host speaking to the camera in the village of Bournville in Britain. The commercial was aired extensively in India and I think it was very well done. It was also successful in the sense that the punchline did find its place in the long term memory storage of many folks and people started associating the Bournville brand with the idea of earning it!

But very recently Cadbury released an offer of free Bournville with Dairy Milk Silk.


I don’t know if Bournville is a commercial success or not but Cadbury has ruined the entire brand perception that they created with their campaign.

You no longer need to earn Bournville, you get it for free! What a waste.


11 thoughts on “How to destroy an expensive marketing campaign – Cadbury story

  1. Hey,

    I voiced the exact same concern to my sister when I watched the ad. They first tell you how you have to EARN a “Bournville”, and they do a U-turn and give it away for FREE.

    Wonder if this is to improve sales of “Silk” or make up losses for “Bournville” – any which case, a very bad move for the brand.

  2. The only thing that probably went wrong is the use of the word FREE. Other wise, they could have still maintained the “You earn it” theme for making the right choice to have a Dairy Milk Silk, which I think is loved by all.

    “Buy a Dairy Milk Silk to earn your Bournville” 🙂

    May be its about time to have a new creative head 🙂

  3. Hi Hemanth,
    Interesting point made about marketing campaigns rendering each other obsolete but what we see is always a cumulative resultant of many factors. I feel, the Bournville brand suffered after its ad got wide criticism for being racist (the Ghana coffee bean selection ad). Also often times when sales demand and supply do not match due to surplus in stock, the clearance is done through such promotional offers. From another consumer awareness angle, Cadbury may be attempting to make people get the taste of Bournville, especially those that are already regular buyers of standard Cadbury bars. We also need to look into how many markets Cadbury gave the one for one free offer.

    Moreover, television ads have a lot behind their composition and what they do to our minds. Here is my analysis of television ads and consumer behavior:

    • Thanks for an interesting link, still reading. I can understand the reason behind the attempt to make people try the taste and create an uplift in the sales. Many a times a brand introduced for the first time through an expensive campaign creates an image. If subsequent activities are conflicting the image, it creates conflict in consumer mind.

    • hi,
      I agree to the point that wen there is a difference in demand and supply of the product, brands do come with such options. but the point here is while we are tackling the demand supply issue it is dangerous to play with the brand name/punchline/positioning. let us also analyse the segment who buys dark chocolates. if thats the educated or youth segment then the brand might get in to serious trouble….

  4. If the sales are slow and the stock has to be moved these promotions do happen .
    The contradiction arise beacuse here you are pushing your product whereas the original punchline was intended to pull the intended target group

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