Shreyas Kulkarni

Cadbury Dairy Milk Crispello's new ad reminds us of Nestle KitKat's ritualised wafer chocolate routine

Is the finger-format chocolate segment heating up with a hot new rivalry?

Mondelez India has released a new ad for its finger-format chocolate brand, Cadbury Dairy Milk Crispello. Called 'Crispello Breaking Barabar Sharing', the 20-second clip highlights how Crispello is best enjoyed when shared with friends.

When five friends, who’re on a road trip, realise there are only four 'fingers' in the pack, they decide to prank the fifth friend, who’s sleeping. Upon hearing 'psss' sounds, he wakes up and feels the urge to relieve himself. He then asks his friend to stop driving and then jumps out to run behind the bush. The remaining (four) friends in the car are seen enjoying a 'finger' of Crispello each.

Nestle KitKat leads the 'finger' chocolate segment. In the latest ad, when we noticed the pack opening and sharing aspect, it reminded us of KitKat, which has 'ritualised' the pack opening, breaking of the chocolate, and the sharing aspect.

It was in 2018 that Mondelez India launched Cadbury Dairy Milk Crispello, "... its ‘made in India’ innovation in the crispy-eat segment." The market leader is now facing a new major competitor.

Speaking about this ad, Anil Viswanathan, director- marketing (chocolates), Mondelez India, said, “We aim to predominantly cater to the Gen-Z consumer base, who’re a key consumer cohort for the brand as they showcase a potential desire to explore multi-textured and newer eat experiences to relish chocolate in different avatars."

"With the new proposition of 'Crispello Breaking Barabar Sharing', we want to connect with our consumers through slice of fun moments that they enjoy with their friends, serving as a reminder to share the Cadbury Dairy Milk Crispello fingers equally. The idea of sharing that the brand reinforces, bolsters our values of togetherness and collective joy.”

Sukesh Nayak, chief creative officer, Ogilvy India, the agency behind the ad, said, “When a Cadbury Dairy Milk Crispello is opened, it needs to be shared equally. And one can go to any lengths to do so. This fun quirky spin on 'sharing' sets the tone for Crispello. It speaks to the youth in a language they understand best – humour.”

We reached to two industry experts for their views on this ad, and the new competition for KitKat from Cadbury Dairy Milk Crispello:

Lubna Khan, brand strategist

Lubna Khan
Lubna Khan

This is a segmented wafer chocolate, and its very nature (the light sensory stimulation, the ability to cleanly break it, the impulsive consumption) makes it fun to share. The challenge is to avoid being seen as a KitKat rip-off while, of course, competing directly against it.

The brand has, therefore, chosen to differentiate on the emotional flavour. KitKat in India tends to be on the sweeter end of the emotional spectrum these days, so they have chosen to add a more tangy emotional kick through their take on contemporary youth and friendship.

This is friendship that is inclusive, but not afraid to exclude, equal but also unequal, giving but also taking away. It is a more nuanced understanding of contemporary Indian youth. If the brand continues to be built in this vein, it will find success.

L Suresh, creative consultant

L Suresh
L Suresh

When I checked online for Cadbury Dairy Milk Crispello, I was surprised to find that the product is at least a couple of years old. The last time they aired a TVC, it was clearly positioned as a variant of Cadbury Dairy Milk Chocolate.

But this time, a conscious decision has been taken to pull Crispello out of the Dairy Milk family and give it solo positioning.

I am unaware of the numbers that Crispello has done since its launch, but the positioning has clearly changed from 'Kuch Meetha Ho Jaaye' to 'Crispello Breaking, Barabar Sharing'.What's interesting is that not only have they used KitKat’s four-finger design, but have also pitched it with a similar thought - the 'equal sharing' positioning comes quite close to Kitkat's 'Sabko Dena Banta Hai' (Share With Everyone), or 'Share Your Mood', though the execution is quite different.

But KitKat’s ‘Break Hai, Banta Hai’ featuring the 'Dangal' girls has become its most popular TVC in recent times. It's interesting to see how Cadbury has chosen to adopt the four-fingered design of KitKat, despite the fact that it has been patented by the latter.

(There's a new item from 2013 that refers to a lawsuit won by Nestle over Cadbury over the design, and a subsequent 2017 report about a Cadbury win over the KitKat trademark shape. So the war, while new to us, has been raging on for a while now.)

This is Crispello's re-entry into the market, with fresh marketing impetus and a new positioning, while KitKat has been around for a few decades now. On the other hand, Cadbury has an overwhelming lead, with almost half the share of the chocolate confectionery market in India.

KitKat is synonymous with the chocolate covered wafer/ crisp category, while Crispello is a variant in the Cadbury stable, with Dairy Milk and 5-Star being the chocolate heroes of the brand.

So, who is going to win this battle?

Crispello might have a different objective here. For starters, to dent KitKat and nibble away at its market share. And if it keeps at it, who knows what can happen in the long run?

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