Cadbury’s Caramel and the power of multiplied media

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A few days ago Cadbury were running a campaign for Cadbury’s Caramel (nope, it will never be Cadbury Dairy Milk Caramel, no matter how hard they try) all over the tube – this cover for thelondonpaper was accompanied by distributers handing out free Caramels, and supported by matching posters all over the place (alongside the huge IMAX board and T/supersides on buses). This focus on reinforcement seems to correlate well with what we wrote about the power of three and the work of Dr Paul Kelley at Monkseaton High School who is pioneering a system of spaced learning.

Having such a strong brand heritage means that the art direction and copy can be kept at an absolute bare minimum – all Cadbury are really doing is reminding Londoners that Caramel exists and that it’s been out of sight for a while. But the way the message is delivered is like a battering ram – you pick up the paper, are handed a Caramel to stretch the message out (which also makes Cadbury seem really generous), and walk past a few posters as you continue on your way, so your whole journey almost becomes an advert in itself. You see other people eating their free chocolate, the taste lingers in your mouth, and you wonder how wrong the guy who first drew the sexy Caramel bunny must have been in the head (although probably not as wrong as the French guys who came up with that Orangina ad a while ago, but that’s going to take some beating).

This approach would never work for a new brand – like the kid at school who’s already cool, Caramel only have to make the smallest of gestures to get themselves back into your affections. A new FMCG brand simply couldn’t get away with a campaign like this that is just entirely focused around a media blitz, but Caramel can do it because everyone knows what it is, its heritage, and will no doubt have had one before. In times like this, when impulse purchases for little pickmeups like chocolate will no doubt be high, brands can’t simply rely on tasting good (even if they do), especially if they’re not the cheapest in their bracket – by focussing on nostalgia and heritage, however, the impulse element of the purchase is supported by that extra emotive element – Caramel is a comfort, almost tasting of better times. And did it work? Well we’ve both had more than one since, so yeah, we’re easily swayable.

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