Saturday, 8 March 2008


The Cadburys Gorilla ad was without doubt the biggest campaign of last year - skillfully and ingeniously created by Fallon London. Even my conservative Aunt spoke about it to me - the first time she had ever mentioned an ad to me. It caught fire across most of the public imagination, and won plaudits both professionally and in the public sphere. The press went crazy and the public remixed it and it got millions of views on its own site and on YouTube - in short it went viral.

There are sceptics, who argue that the ad does nothing for sales, but Cadburys and Fallon have released figures that show a positive result. But if I asked you to guess what impact it had on sales, what would you say? 50%? Perhaps 150% or even 1,500%? The answer is that it raised sales by 7% according to Cadburys.

It seems the ad was bigger than the brand. This also happened with Budweiser's wassup campaign, where the campaign went viral with people saying wassup everywhere, except for when they ordered a beer.

These campaigns created buzz, but failed to put up a net for capturing that buzz and turning it into sales through creating long term brand conversations. This would mean creating advertising that is about messages but that also has an experience attached to it that ultimately leads to sales.

Where was the sales promotions, the loyalty programs, the eCRM, and the data capture? This side of things is the heavy lifting side of marketing - when you create buzz you need to create conversion mechanism or buzz stays as buzz. We await part II to see if Fallon can capitalise on its idea of A Glass And a Half Full Productions.

More Cadbury Sales and Graphs here.


Anonymous said...

I would take a 7% increase in sales and run to the bank any day of the week in any sector. But especially for Cadbury whom I can only assume has a huge market share and thus to see such incremental growth is quite outstanding. Is the 30s spot really dead? With ads like this we are finding it increasingly diffficult to put the final nail in the coffin. However, that aside, is buzz not the best strategy to suport an impulse (low value, low involvment) purchase? Do people really want such a deeper dialogue with Cadbury - is such a deeper exchange sustainable with a 30p slab of chocolate?

saul.ogrady said...

Correct me if I'm wrong, but that 7% increase is off the back of a low base because of Cadbury's salmonella-related chocolate recall in 2006. The gorilla didn't drum up much business...

Anonymous said...

Looking at sales is not really enough to evaluate how successfull this campaign has been. Aside from the soft branding metrics, it's critical to look at their market share and see whether it has increased. Also, 7% needs to be put into context of other brand's performance...
It sounds as though you're pushing for marketers to have more control of these activities with the set up of CRM activities. Isn't it the case that marketers need to understand that controlling every aspect of a buzz campaign can be unproductive...

Mark Earls said...

Nice post. Interesting way to get us to articulate our models of what we think success looks like and the scale of effect...

The point is we assume (buzz- and adfolk alike) that what we do has a huge-scale effect on the behaviour of customers and needs to in order to profit positive.

In many years of doing and judging marketing effectiveness, my experience is this:

i. even in the most effective cases, marketing communication tends not to be a strong factor driving sales (i.e. not big)
ii. small scale % effects are effectively big if the brand is already big
iii. whether the scale of shift is profitable depends on the economic model of the business (as well as the cost of expenditure required to achieve it)

I'm still surprised how big we imagine our effect is. Like marketing was some kind of magic wand - get the right message/creative/media combo and we will transform the business...

It's a very short-term and unrealistic view of how business creates value...

Tony Effik said...

This is an interesting debate and cuts right to the heart of what our business is all about. I accept that 7% is big, but my main point is that its not big in comparison to the size of the buzz the campaign created. If this campaign only generetd 7% buzz then what does the average campaign create? My second point is that the main problem isn't creating buzz, its converting buzz. This requires a new type of agency and communication model that thinks about the whole journey not just the earliest parts of the purchase funnel. But to Mark's point, I think if we can't make a big impact and we are comfortable with that we will become cynics and exploiters - and will get caught out by the finance department sooner or later

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