Cadbury, Coke offer inspiration to FMCG brands

31 December 2009

Case histories from Cadbury and Coca-Cola offered fresh inspiration to large numbers of Warc's subscribers over the last 12 months, at a time when trading conditions have been particularly challenging in the FMCG category.

An award-winning paper from last year's IPA Effectiveness Awards described how Cadbury, the UK confectionery giant, took an irreverent tone in supporting its flagship offering, Dairy Milk.

This ultimately took the form of a "drumming gorilla", which proved to be a viral sensation on the web long before the equivalent TV ads first aired.

Such a strategy was based on the idea that communications should give people a positive "feeling" rather than just a "message", and thus repositioned the company as a "producer of joy."

Alongside 10 million hits on YouTube, the video-sharing portal, the idea received considerable PR coverage in a wide variety of publications, and made a particular impact with 16–24 year olds.

Coca-Cola, the soft drinks giant, sought to take an innovative approach to convincing 18–34 year old men in the US that Coke Zero, its zero calorie drink, tasted as good as the traditional alternative.

The main tools used in achieving this goal included "commercials that didn't look like commercials", teaming up with a targeted list of cable and late-night networks, and a sponsorship tie-up with NASCAR.

During the first year of the campaign, communications helped improve perceptions on measures ranging from "tastes like Coke” to "brand for me" and "my favourite brand."

Häagen Dazs, the ice cream range owned by Nestlé, had seen its sales and revenue growth substantially slow by 2007 after a sustained period of expansion, while advertising awareness levels had also effectively stalled.

In an effort to reverse these trends, it was decided to emphasise the product's "all natural" credentials, and tap into an issue that would be of concern to many customers: the falling number of honey bees in America.

The "HD loves HB" campaign not only boosted sales and helped Häagen Dazs close the gap on Ben & Jerry's, but also raised awareness of a pressing environmental problem among the public at large.

Data sourced from Warc