Cadbury Gems' bit for the endangered panda

By Savia Jane Pinto , afaqs!, Mumbai | In Advertising | October 20, 2009
A play on colour, the new TVC for Gems attempts to make a place for the endangered species in the hearts of children

Kung-Fu Panda and Kung-Fu Pahwa may be responsible for the sudden surge in the popularity of the panda, particularly among children. Going a step ahead, Cadbury has made special efforts to make a place for the endangered species in the hearts of people, especially children.


The latest ad from the Cadbury stable for its brightly coloured sugar coated chocolate buttons, Gems, has a 'packetful' of surprises. Created by its agency, Ogilvy India, two TV commercials are currently on air.

The first ad starts with a scene showing journalists making an entry into a mysterious jungle. The journalists and crew are amazed to see multicoloured pandas in the jungle. As they express their bewilderment over this bizarre discovery, the voiceover of an overenthusiastic Hindi translator narrates their actions. The spoof-like presentation of the ad reminds one of the show, Takeshi's Castle (Cartoon Network), superimposed with visuals shot in the style of the National Geographic Channel.

While the team tries to figure out what has suddenly put colour into the pandas, one panda runs out of its stock of Gems and returns to its original colour (black and white).

The ad ends with the new tagline for the brand, 'Rangeen Panda ki Rangeen Pasand' (The colourful choice of coloured Pandas). The second ad is similar to the first, with minor variations in the presentation.

The film has been shot in India, with a crew that came in from London. Leslie Ali of Partizan has directed the film. The pandas are professional actors, while some scenes use animatronics (animatronics: as against CGI and stop motion, animatronics is not a simulation of reality, but are physical objects moving in real time in front of the camera. Courtesy: Wikipedia).

The team at Ogilvy that carried out the ad includes Abhijit Avasthi, national creative director; Manoj Shetty and Siddhartha Dutta, creative directors; Avinash Baliga, copywriter; Samrat Bedi and Santosh Kutty from the servicing team and Kawal Shoor and Vikram Ganapathy from the planning team.

Rangeela Re

Nikhil Rao, assistant vice-president, marketing, Cadbury India, tells afaqs! that Gems has been on a course improvement. Earlier, the coloured, sugar coated chocolate for kids worked on the tagline, 'Meri Masti ka Partner'. Rao says that it was a conscious effort to move away from the usual communication that small candies and hard boiled candy in the category have been following - that of kids outwitting adults in some way or the other.

"The idea is to bring a meaning to Gems and show how it adds colour to an otherwise black and white world," says Rao. For a kid, he adds, it's highly possible that a coloured panda could exist, and Gems will fire his imagination and add colour to it as well.

A play with colours has been the effort this time, says Avasthi. The idea is that the pandas aren't coloured because they've had Gems - but the regular panda is such because he doesn't have Gems. Avasthi adds that this thought will be taken forward in the form of break bumpers, where kids will speak about spotting a coloured panda and other things in the format of a testimonial.

With this campaign, Cadbury aims to steer towards owning the premise of a coloured cocoa-based chocolate. The subsequent communication will be an effort to strengthen the same idea.

The core target group for Gems, says Rao, is the 8-14 year old. This is also why the communication takes a spoofish tone, which the age group would probably understand much better than a younger audience.

Panda Funda

Though the ad is meant for a much younger lot, afaqs! asked a few people within the industry if the ad fired their imaginations.

Nilesh Vaidya, executive creative director, Euro RSCG says that kids may relate to it but he has certain doubts. He can't help but notice that the ad doesn't do anything more than link Gems with colours. "If the attempt was to exploit the whole thought of 'Rangeen' and its many meanings, I think it will be completely lost on kids. If they like it, it will be for the simple fact that it shows a cute animal in a way they haven't seen before. But the whole execution of Nat Geo documentary + rustic Hindi commentary was a little irritating. But then, kids are famous for liking things that grownups don't."

Brijesh Jacob of White Canvas is confused about what the ad means. "The dialogues are hackneyed, the execution isn't great and I personally missed the point," he says.

© 2009 afaqs!