Deepashree Banerjee

Cadbury Dark Milk – chocolate for grown ups

Few months back, Cadbury's healthier variant with 30 per cent lower sugar had our attention. Cut to today, Mondelez India has introduced a new range of premium chocolates — Cadbury Dark Milk. Aishwarya Rai Bachchan has been roped in as the face for the new sub brand in India.

Cadbury's advertising journey has come a long way just as the brand itself (the brand touched the 70 years milestone in the country last year).

We all remember the classic ‘Asli Swad Zindagi Ka’ commercial from the 90s. The TV ad singlehandedly helped shatter Dairy Milk's ‘kids-only’ image and positioned it as a brand for adult consumption. The ad featured a young woman cruising across a cricket field in a celebratory dance.

Circa 2000, Bollywood actor Amitabh Bachchan was brought onboard as Cadbury’s first celebrity ambassador for the ‘Kuchh Meetha Ho Jaaye’ series, which proposed the chocolate brand as a substitute for Indian sweets.

The new variant, Dark Milk, has dropped ‘Dairy’ from its name, and makes its proposition clear — meant for grown-up palates.

Conceptualised by Ogilvy, the 55-seconder opens with Aishwarya sitting at a nearly empty airport lounge enjoying some “me-time” while nibbling on chocolate. A young, dapper looking fellow chooses to sit next to her and not-so-subtly asks if she would share a bite of chocolate with him. She tersely replies that he'd need to grow up before she does that. What struck us, apart from the unusual pairing, was also the brand's visible attempt to render a rather 'adult'(ish) twist in the TVC.

We speak to Anil Viswanathan, director (marketing), Chocolates, Mondelez India, about what led to the birth of Cadbury Dark Milk. Over to him,

Anil Viswanathan
Anil Viswanathan

“It actually underwent rigorous consumer research — product preference, packaging research, thermal stability, proposition evaluation/concept testing, etc. Dark Milk is a global brand, hence we had lot of learning from other countries as well, but we have developed the Dark Milk bundle to suit the Indian market after almost 2 years of detailed research,” he explains.

The commercial deliberately tries to showcase the new range as something exclusively created for a mature consumer. We remember that Cadbury had launched high-end offerings, such as Bournville, in the past. We couldn't help asking Viswanathan the obvious question here — In what way does Dark Milk stand out from the familiar taste of Dairy Milk?

Taking the cue, he says, “Dark Milk’s taste is crafted for evolved consumers with mature palates/sensibilities. Cadbury Dairy Milk, our mother brand has the age old recipe containing cocoa, milk and sugar ingredients. While Dark Milk has ‘more intense notes’ as it has a higher percentage of cocoa and a different manufacturing process. It is a sweet spot between dark and milk chocolate, — the rich, intense notes of a dark chocolate and also the creamy, smooth texture of indulgent milk chocolate.”

Interestingly, millennials seem to be the target consumer for all Mondelez brands. The communication for brands, such as Cadbury Silk, Five Star and Fuse, is aimed at millennials.

TV continues to remain the lead medium of communication, however digital is fast catching up. Digital takes the lead when it comes to reaching millennials and Gen Z consumers, especially in top tier towns. Viswanathan points out, “We have a robust mechanism to measure ROI on different media elements year-on-year, and we devise our media strategy basis the successes we see with different activations across media elements.”

Viswanathan agrees that information about consumer habits and responses, in today’s world, can be gathered much faster, “Social listening tools help measure consumer reactions in no time. Information availability has become more precise, more accessible and quicker than ever before.”

He also points out that as a category, chocolate has been growing in strong double digits and has been leading the growth in the FMCG/F&B industry. And he maintains, “Our biggest brands — Cadbury Dairy Milk and Cadbury Dairy Milk Silk, have experienced great success with the launches and activations this year thereby leading growth for the category.”

The launch of Cadbury Dark Milk will be supported by a 360-degree communication campaign. The TVC will be supported with some outdoor and digital campaigns and strong in-store visibility.

As against Rs 40 for a 43-gram bar of the regular Dairy Milk, the 72-gram pack of Dark Milk is priced at Rs 99 (available in Original – Rich & Creamy variant) and the 156-gram pack is priced at Rs 199 (available in Original – Rich & Creamy and Salted Caramel – Rich & Creamy variant). Guess we'll have to wait and see whether Cadbury Dark Milk manages to take on the chocolate category on Indian shores.

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