Cadbury Chairman Defends Kids ‘Chocolate for Sports’ Promo

13 May 2003

Cadbury Schweppes chairman John Sunderland - a former marketing director of the company - hit out at critics of Cadbury’s controversial £9 million ($14.17m; €12.92m) Get Active promotional campaign that urges children to collect chocolate bar tokens for redemption against school sports equipment [WAMN: 30-Apr-03].

Deciding that attack is the best form of defence, Sunderland lashed out at that old whipping boy, the so-called ‘nanny state’. Addressing Friday’s annual meeting of shareholders he railed: “We are getting to the stage of complete nanny state-ism if we [sic] are to dictate to people what they can and cannot consume.”

His argument mystifies those who are unable to recall any such attempt by the state, the barrage of criticism being confined to whether it is proper to incentivize kids to consume even more chocolate and sugar than they do already.

Non-state monitoring body The Food Commission has complained that the scheme encourages children to spend more money and consume more calories. “The amounts of chocolate involved for these ‘gifts’ is quite astounding,” opined the Commission. “It is ridiculous to combine a fitness campaign with eating chocolate.”

It also calculates that a 10-year-old child would need to play basketball for ninety hours to burn off the calories ingested by eating sufficient chocolate to acquire a Cadbury’s basketball.

Riposted Sunderland: “The Get Active programme does not encourage children to eat more chocolate – it encourages them to get more active.”

Data sourced from:; additional content by WARC staff