Cadbury’s £9m Schools Promo Attacked by UK Food Commission

30 April 2003

Following a mauling from the National Association of Teachers over its upcoming £9 million ($14.17m; €12.92m) schools sports promotion [WAMN: 23-Apr-03], chocolate colossus Cadbury has now been attacked by independently-funded watchdog, the Food Commission.

The promo which incentivises kids to consume chocolate in return for school sports equipment was described by the commission as “absurd and contradictory”. Said FC director Tim Lobstein: “The amounts of chocolate involved for these ‘gifts’ is quite astounding. It is ridiculous to combine a fitness campaign with eating chocolate.”

Due to be launched in May under the banner Get Active, the promo plugs Cadbury’s Boost, Crunchie, Dairy Milk and Roses brands in a joint initiative with the Youth Sports Trust. It portrays the chocolatier as a patron of active sporting activity for children – projecting a beneficial image in refutation of persistent attacks on the UK food industry by political and consumer groups.

Given such an unimpeachable motive, it was unkind of the Food Commission to point out that kids would have to munch through £2,000-worth of chocolate and ingest 1,250,000 calories before their school would qualify for the top incentive – a single set of volleyball posts.

In another carefully contrived (albeit damaging) statistic, the FC 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.

Professor Phil James, who chairs the government’s obesity taskforce, condemned the promo: “This is a classic example of how the food and soft drink industries are failing to take on board that they are major contributors to obesity problems throughout the world.”

Cadbury, however, is unrepentant, insisting that Get Active doesn’t encourage children to eat more chocolate but offers substantial benefits both to schools and local communities.

Data sourced from: BrandRepublic (UK); additional content by WARC staff