Shreyas Kulkarni

Cadbury Perk and Alia Bhatt return to the brand's ‘light’ proposition in new spot…

… It marks the Bollywood actress’ first ad as a brand ambassador for the chocolate wafer brand that made its India debut 25 years ago in 1996.

Cadbury Perk’s new spot is nothing but light. From the set to the artistes’ attire to the theme of the ad, it’s nothing but what the wafer infused with Cadbury chocolate has stood for – lightness.

Just over a minute long with RITVIZ’s ‘Udd Gaye’ playing in the backdrop, this spot marks Bollywood actress Alia Bhatt’s debut as Cadbury Perk’s new brand ambassador.

Featuring a ‘mandap’ setting, we see the bride (Bhatt) approach Pavail Gulati, the groom, for the garland ceremony only to see his friends hoist him on their shoulders; a tradition to make the groom harder to reach for the bride. What does Bhat do? She nonchalantly unwraps a bar of Perk and takes a bite… within a jiffy, she begins to rise as if she’s super light… the messaging is evident, ‘Perk khao, light ho jao’.

It does make yours truly think of Red Bull and its ‘gives you wing’ proposition.

Anil Viswanathan, senior director, marketing (chocolates), insights and analytics, Mondelez India, said, “Cadbury Perk has been rooted in the youth culture since its inception almost 25 years ago, owing to its fun persona and relevant messaging. We propagated the message of ‘masti’ from 2015, which resonated well and helped establish Perk as a fun brand.”

“This time, we wanted to be rooted in the product and reinforce the delightfully light eat-experience of Perk. Today’s youth believe in facing life’s stresses with lightness. Our launch film and tagline ‘Perk khao, light ho jao’ attempts to land the message that Perk is the light chocolate in a fun manner through the route of levitation.”

“In the past, we have had lively and high-spirited personalities to cater to the youth cosmos like (Bollywood actresses) Preity Zinta, Genelia D’Souza and Ananya Panday, who embody what Cadbury Perk stands for – youth, fun and joie de vivre. With Alia Bhatt back on-board as the face of the brand, we are positive that she will bring the ‘Take It Light’ proposition to life effortlessly with her bubbly persona and strong youth connect.”

Sukesh Nayak, chief creative officer, Ogilvy India, said, “This is a super fun idea on lightness, executing this was truly a ball. Working with Alia, Pavail and Bob was just lots of ‘masti’. I believe, the social surround around the idea and the film will beautifully bring the core idea to life - ‘Perk khao, light ho jao’.”

While Bhatt was announced Cadbury Perk’s ambassador a few days ago, it isn’t her first ad for the brand. She appeared in a 2017 ‘New Xtra Chocolaty Cadbury Perk’ spot that focused more on ‘masti’ than the ‘light’ proposition expressed in the new ad.

Speaking of brand ambassadors, the chocolate wafer brand’s last face was Panday in June 2019. We (afaqs!) saw her appear in a single ad for the brand that also featured director/writer Anurag Kashyap. It too focused on ‘masti’ or pranks as the actress pulls one her director.

Even actress Mithila Palkar featured in a series of Perk ads where she emphasised the ‘masti’ aspect as a candidate promising funny solutions for genuine issues and urging people to vote for ‘Perk Masti Party’.

Please note the proposition of fun (or 'masti') was not Cadbury Perk’s key proposition. Launched in India in 1996, most people will remember seeing Preity Zinta as the face of the chocolate brand for many years during which the tagline 'Thodi si pet puja, kabhi bhi kahin bhi' became very popular.

Cinestaan, a digital portal that covers India’s film industry, quoted Zinta as saying it was her friend Sonal Dabral, an ad veteran (he was with Ogilvy at that time and wrote the copy), who persuaded her to audition for the ad. We have even seen actress Gayatri Joshi in a Perk ad.

The chocolate was not always chocolate on the outside and wafer on the inside. One of the major product diversifications from Cadbury Perk was turning the product on its head. Called ‘Ulta Perk’, it was wafer on the outside and chocolate on the inside, and launched in 2007.

There was one ad from 2008 that mentioned both the original Cadbury Perk and the Perk Ulta featuring actor Sharman Joshi.

And in 2009, we saw the launch of the Perk variant that is available in markets today - ‘Perk with Glucose Energy’. Aimed at 14-18 year olds, the brand aimed to offer its consumers great taste, along with energy from glucose.

Most important, yours truly remembers variants of Perk in mango, strawberry and mint flavours during his school days (1999). While he doesn’t care about the mintand the strawberry flavour, he feels the mango variant must return right away.

Agency Details for the latest Cadbury Perk ad:

Creative Agency: Ogilvy India

Creative team: Sukesh Nayak, Karunasagar Sridharan, Nitin Menon and Nishigandh Dhende

Planning team: Ganapathy Balagopalan, Samhita Chaudhuri and Dhara Pujara

Account management: Prakash Nair, Beenu Kurup, Priya Thakkar, Khyati Samant and Meet Parikh

Media agency: Wavemaker India

Media team: Brajesh Dwivedi, Harsh Desireddy, Adhir Anand, Sabera Kapasi, Pranjali Singh, Chrysel Dmello, Harshil Vora, Jitin Shirke, Shravan Daga, Hetal Ganatra and Aniket Ghanwatkar

PR agency: MSL India

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