Though Cadbury Dairy Milk positioned itself as an alternative to sweets with its 'Kuch Meetha Ho Jaye' line of communication, Cadbury Bournville, the dark chocolate brand from the company, has taken a stand against excessive sweetness.
Done by Ogilvy & Mather Mumbai in a city mall, the activation featured a staged love proposal; a young guy proposes his love to a young lady, only to get thrashed by her for being too sweet with his words! Staged by theatre actors, the act absolutely stumped onlookers.
Even when watched online, the video doesn't look like an ad as it uses a subtle reference to the brand. The activation features a train with the message 'Bournville - Not So Sweet' written on it, but the action in the background attracts all the attention making the train appear as a mere disturbance rather than an advertising message.
The idea to transform it into an online video was based on the understanding that on the digital medium, people love to see a video that showcases the misery of others. And, this worked well for the brand. Posted on YouTube from a random user account, in less than four days, the video reached three million views on YouTube. So far, till the report was filed, the video had reached 4,870,521 views.
What's more? The activation featured on TV in the US, on a channel covering funny videos (with a special mention about Bournville), a TV channel in the Philippines, blogs and media across the world. On Facebook, the video was shared separately on a bunch of different pages that feature funny videos and the brand expects the video to do upwards of 10 million views.
So what was it that prompted the brand to develop this communication? Abhijit Avasthi, national creative director, Ogilvy & Mather, states that this is an attempt to communicate the message that having a dark chocolate is cool and it is not overtly sweet. "The taste of a dark chocolate is different and we were looking for an effective way to tell people this, especially those who still think Bournville happens to be just another sweet chocolate," Avasthi adds.
The other challenge was the same as every other challenge in the online space. "We had to generate 'buzz', tap social media and go 'viral' as nobody can predict what will become an online hit. Creating a hit on the internet is like creating Sholay - you can't process knowledge and trends in order to create success. It just happens. Having said that, the Bournville viral does have some science and creativity by design, executed, of course, to near precision. We got lucky this time as the idea was good and we didn't overdo the promotion bit," says Avasthi.
The key to the conversation surrounding this video is its suspicious nature and the realism that makes it debatable. It was the authenticity of the effort that makes the online viewer accept the subtle branding done around the train. To enhance the realism, the agency used a single camera that captured the entire thing in a single take.
If you wanted a Cadbury Bournville back in 2009, you couldn't just buy it, you had to 'earn it'. It was this thought that the TV campaign used to drive the first big launch for the brand in India. It was around 2011-12 that the brand started exploring the digital platform and allocated around 30 per cent of its marketing budget to the medium.
Starting in 2013, Cadbury Bournville has set digital as its lead medium for advertisement. "Cadbury wants to be extremely active on digital with Bournville and we have a healthy plan of coming out with more digital activations and campaigns for the brand in the future," informs Avasthi.
However, this was not the first time Cadbury Bournville appeared on digital with a branding campaign. In 2012, the brand had launched an online game which involved an exclusive animated video called 'Bean Hijack'. The Bean Hijack story began when precious cocoa beans travelling from Ghana to India were hijacked and accidentally spread all over the country. The mystery unfolded via clues to the location of the cities of the hijacked beans. Fans had to decipher clues to collect the beans.
Touted as Cadbury's answer to the emerging market of luxury chocolates, the company unveiled Bournville in the Indian market in 2009. Cadbury is now a unit of Mondelez.