Twenty years ago, Indian adults were embarrassed to be seen eating chocolate in public. With its charming and persuasive advertising Cadbury has single-handedly grown the Indian chocolate market in a big way. It is this same persistence that led it to create an on-the-ground activity in West Bengal last year that won it several Effies and Emvies.
It had had tied up with nine Kolkata Mishti shops that prepared over 100 innovative Cadbury Mishtis - that is, sweets using Cadbury Dairy Milk as an ingredient. It used local media and invited people to vote for the most innovative creation. The activation saw over a million votes being cast.
Anil Viswanathan, vice president, chocolates, Cadbury India, says, "Kolkata is a big mithai market and a fusion of chocolate and mithai presents a great opportunity for us to build even stronger relevance here."
This time round, it is pitching its activation as the season's biggest wedding - one in which Cadbury weds local lass Mishti. As before, it used local media heavily to invite people to the wedding and shower blessings on the newly-wed couple. The entire campaign has been designed by ABP One and is supported by ABP Group as the print partner.
"This time our ambitions are bigger," says Vishwanathan, "and we will try to connect with many more in the activated geography." He says that in the last eight years, Cadbury Dairy Milk has consistently positioned itself as a 'sweet' through its "Kuch Meetha ho Jaaye" campaign and the activity in Kolkata is another step in that direction.
This year, 20 local sweet shops and chains, adding up to 60 outlets, are part of the activity and the geography has been extended beyond Kolkata to Durgapur, about 180 km to the north west. These chains are being decorated on the theme of a wedding mandap and employees will be dressed in the traditional wedding attire.
To track consumer participation, Cadbury has tied up with Zipdial, which describes itself as a call-to-action platform using missed calls. Each Mishti chain has been allotted a unique number such as 08067006613. Visitors can make a call - which is automatically disconnected after the caller's number is recorded - to register their blessings for the couple. The chain that receives the maximum blessings will be the winner.
The month-long campaign will see several of these Bengali stars turn up at the designated stores to create buzz. Cadbury has also deployed volunteers to click pictures of all the guests who visit the stores. These pictures will be uploaded to their Facebook page. "Cadbury is working towards making the world's biggest wedding album for this initiative," says Vishwanathan.
As it is the begining of the wedding season in West Bengal, Cadbury will also connect with the recently wed couples in the area. Through its radio partners, Red FM and Friends, it will connect with these couples and possibly have a celebrity visit them with a gift hamper.
To reach a larger audience, Cadbury will organise weekend Mishti eating competitions in malls and the Mishti chains of Kolkata. It also plans to organise camps where consumers will create their own Cadbury Mishti followed by a big fair.