Hello!I’m James Hurman, and this is issue #1 of my new column for WARC, called Eff Bomb.
It’s a column about advertising that’s, well, fucking effective. And what we can all learn from it.The column’s also a thinly veiled ad for my online programme the Master of Advertising Effectiveness, where I bring together and teach all of the evidence based principles of how advertising works and how to make it work better.All the stuff you know and love from WARC, the IPA, Ehrenberg Bass and other marketing effectiveness founts – but would like to understand in enough depth to be able to really apply it to the brands you work on. Check it out at mae.academy.
In this column, I’ll take apart recent effectiveness award winners and show how they’ve put the principles of effectiveness together to create significant brand and business growth.Sometimes they’ll have combined a couple of the principles. But the real Eff Bombs are those that have gotten everything right all at once.
Like Cadbury UK did with “There’s a glass & a half in everyone”. The campaign, from VCCP London, won the IPA Effectiveness Awards Grand Prix toward the end of last year, and it really is a total Eff Bomb.
So here we go…
The story begins with Kraft corporate-raiding Cadbury in 2010 and then basically fucking it up for seven years straight, falling out with the British public, and watching their penetration, market share and revenue veer toward the toilet. Since 2007’s sublime ‘Gorilla’, the work had become increasingly dismal, and as one consumer said, “Cadbury just doesn't feel like Cadbury anymore”.
Cue new brand and advertising strategy.
They started with an uncommon-common-sense bit of thinking which was to go back to the core of Cadbury – the Dairy Milk product – and it’s five-star distinctive asset, the ‘glass & a half’ of milk in every bar. That’s something we don’t do nearly enough of. Returning to the core. Revitalising the parts of the brand that people already know and love. We’re too quick to try and invent new stuff, when reactivating old positive memory structures is much easier than creating new ones.
And that needn’t be a path to worn out old ideas.
VCCP did this nice little move where they recognised that there’s real emotional power in the simple act of generosity of giving chocolate to others.
That there’s a little bit of that generosity in all of us.
That ‘There’s a glass & a half in everyone.’
Perfect. Old distinctive asset reframed from rational ingredient story to emotional insight. Revealing a fertile new creative platform.
In the award paper they waffle on about Cadbury rediscovering their purpose, being ‘to inspire more generosity in the world’, while also having to dance around the fact that nobody likes purpose any more, which is amusing to read but all very unnecessary given it’s not really a purpose (rest assured the Mondelez board don’t give a fuck about Brits being generous to one another).
It’s just a lovely human truth about chocolate that they could build great work from.Which is, and always has been, the high watermark of human achievement in planning advertising. Bravo VCCP planners.Then off they went to the creative department, with the same reasonably healthy advertising budget (their share of voice was a fraction higher than their share of market), and a proper long-term (5-year) objective of increasing value sales by 9%.
Over the next few years they made a series of films about everyday Britons using Cadbury's Dairy Milk to demonstrate generosity toward one another.