Cadbury Celebrations: Time for the Sister Act

By Devina Joshi & Surina Sayal , afaqs!, Mumbai | In Advertising
Last updated : August 05, 2009
A new radio and an outdoor campaign for Cadbury Celebrations takes the quirky, almost wicked route to establish why sisters deserve to be pampered by their brothers

'Rakhis' seem to be everywhere this month, be it the Sawant type on TV, or the kind one would sport on his wrist as a traditional Indian symbol of a sister's love for her brother. As preparations for the festival of Rakshabandhan goes on in Indian homes, the chocolate brand for festival/occasion gifting, Cadbury Celebrations, is out with a radio campaign that takes the quirky, almost wicked route to establish why sisters deserve to be pampered by their brothers.

The last radio campaign for Celebrations was nearly two years ago. In a departure from its earlier emotion laden communication, the brand has taken a more contemporary route in an effort to appeal to its revised TG (target group) - teenagers and the youth. "Middle-aged men usually have sisters who are living far away from them, so we realised it made more sense to communicate to the younger lot, who still stay with their siblings," says Nikhil Rao, vice-president, marketing (chocolates), Cadbury India, explaining the shift.

The new communication reflects a layer of 'masti' or fun in a brother-sister relationship. "Even though the Rakhi is a traditional festival, it is celebrated by the youth in a contemporary way when it comes to gifting," says Raghu Bhat, senior vice-president and executive creative director, Contract Advertising (Celebrations' creative agency). So naturally, the tone of voice had to be youthful and vibrant.

After experimenting with some key insights on a brother-sister relationship, it was realised that a sister often looks up to, or even worships, her brother.

Her unconditional support is something that a brother often takes for granted. "Once we had that, we flipped it around and questioned, if the sister is so supporting, who is the guy who's not?" says Bhat, and the answer arrived in the form of another brother.

On a general plane, two brothers would have more intense competition and rivalry than a brother-sister duo. Brothers supposedly quarrel more often, fight for the same things (often the same girl), and try to pull a fast one on each other whenever an opportunity arrives. "Even today's films such as Race and Kaminey deal with the matter of sibling rivalry in boys," grins Bhat.

Taking off from such inspirations, Contract devised three radio spots that revolve around the idea that a sister could never be wicked like a brother, and hence deserves to be pampered with a Celebrations pack.

The first radio spot has the story of a girl who comes to her boyfriend's home, only to run into his wicked brother, who wants her for himself. He mentions his brother's previous girlfriends on the sly to shock the girl. The voiceover (VO) explains that while brothers can stoop to anything wicked to get what they want, a sister would never behave this way, and hence deserves a 'Pyaar Ka Shagun' in the form of a Celebrations pack.

The second spot has an elder brother adding to the miseries of his younger sibling (who is depressed by his parent's chidings), informing him rather casually that he was adopted after being found in a sack on the road.

A third ad has a boy pretending to help his brother's scheme to run off for a rendezvous with his girlfriend, only to expose him before their parents later. A similar VO concludes the spots.

Interestingly, the radio spots border on the concept of 'Sutradharan Radio', as there is a narrator who comically introduces the characters in the plot and throws in a quick explanation here and there. Furthermore, each ad begins with a distinct music type: A 'Ramleela' like loud exclamation, an Opera-like musical, and a Qawaali respectively. This has been done to break the monotony of dialogue-heavy radio spots.

"Furthermore, music pieces such as in the Ramleela or Qawaali spots allow for faster 'words per minute', which is essential in a narrative. The VO can expend with the narration quickly with such lively music to support it," explains Bhat of Contract.

The brief from Cadbury this year was clearly to produce a campaign specifically for various media, and not just replicate the TV communication on other media. Radio constitutes 10 per cent of the overall spends for the Rakhi campaign for Cadbury Celebrations, a number that hasn't been so high in the past.

This is because, unlike festivals such as Diwali, people often give money to their sisters instead of taking the effort to purchase a gift. Therefore, media like radio and OOH help in creating impulse purchases, and high frequency advertising a few days before the festival helps on this particular medium. Says Cadbury's Rao, "Other festivals like Diwali and Christmas are celebrated at a larger scale; they are public holidays and the day is earmarked. But Rakhi is a smaller festival -- many times, brothers take their sisters for granted and forget about the gift altogether. Such local media bring in a level of immediacy and provide a reminder for a sweet gifting option."

Besides radio, outdoor constitutes 15-20 per cent of the spends, while TV continues to dominate the media plan at 70 per cent. For a campaign relying so heavily on television, there is no new TV commercial. The company is airing last year's TVC this year as well, the rationale being that the ad - an emotional one about a brother in a hostel being surprised by his sister - still generates high recall.

However for the outdoor campaign, the brand targets brothers under the age of 18 years, is spread across billboards and bus shelters with creatives such as, "Your sister thinks you are a six-pack superstar", "Your sister thinks you are Mumbai's coolest dude", or "Your sister thinks you are the real hero"; followed by: "This Rakhi, express your love with pyaar ka shagun" and "Special Rich Dry fruit collection for your sister".

The insight for the outdoor campaign was that sisters hero-worship their brothers. The campaign uses this insight as a hook to initiate gifting by the brothers.

Bhat of Contract Advertising, says, "We have added two special ingredients into the Rakhi mix. We have made it contemporary -- with references to six-pack superstar and coolest dude - and we have added fun, making it more reflective of today's bro-sis relationships."

Bhat feels, "Even though Rakhi is a traditional festival, siblings add their own contexts to it. The campaign has to mirror that."

Rao shares that Celebrations contributes around 10 per cent of the total Cadbury turnover. Since its launch in 1990, the chocolate brand focussed on replacing traditional gifting options, such as 'mithai' and dry fruits, during festive seasons and on occasions such as Diwali, Rakhi and Dussera Puja. In 2007, in order to strengthen its relationship with consumers, it also announced the launch of its all-year-round Cadbury Celebrations gifting range, with an array of newly designed Cadbury Celebrations packs.

The team that has worked on the campaign includes Abhishek Deshwal, Anshumani Khanna, Timsy Gupta, Karishma Ajinkya and Raghu Bhat. Ogilvy Action is the outdoor agency for this campaign while Madison handled the media planning and buying. The radio spots were recorded at Vijay Cine and were produced by Sundar.

First Published : August 05, 2009

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