Ananya Pathak

Cadbury UK's packaging stunt a hit with desi designers...

Global snacks and chocolate major, Mondelez International's Cadbury UK has stripped its wrapping all the words from its special edition Dairy Milk bars that are part of the campaign — 'Donate Your Words'. The 'purple' wrapper of these limited edition bars features only the glass and a half logo of the confectionery brand. The campaign, launched in partnership with Age UK, a London-based charity for older people, aims to raise awareness and combat loneliness among old people.

“There’s a crisis in the UK. 1.4 million older people struggle with loneliness. 2,25,000 often go a whole week without speaking to anyone. Cadbury are donating the words from their Cadbury Dairy Milk bars to help,” states a statement published on the Age UK website.

The confectionery giant will donate 30 pence from the sale of each limited edition bar to Age UK.

In a report, Laura Gray, brand manager at Mondelez, was quoted as saying, “We’re so proud to announce this partnership and to be supporting Age UK — it’s such an important charity that is really tackling the issue of loneliness. We are donating the words from our bars of Cadbury Dairy Milk and encouraging people up and down the country to donate theirs through small gestures that could really help change the lives of older people.”

The campaign aims to encourage Brits to reach out and have conversations with elderly people in the society.

Also Read: Snickers extends campaign to wrappers; boldly tweaks name on pack

However, Cadbury isn't the first brand from the segment to have dropped the brand name from the packet.

Cadbury UK's packaging stunt a hit with desi designers...

The nuts, caramel and chocolate-based Snickers bar from Mars Wrigley Confectionery, replaced the brand name on the topside (face) of the packaging with words such as Junglee, Princess, Nautanki and others for its ‘Who are you when you are hungry?’ campaign. The effort was aimed at positioning the product as an on-the-go solution for hunger. Although the name on the packaging was replaced, the design, colour, font and other aspects remained the same.

During that campaign, the Snickers team had revealed to afaqs! that the packaging had already built an identity because of its colour and logo and studies reflected a ‘strong association’ of the brand and pack without the logo on the top at all.

To understand the risks involved in tweaking the product packaging and to get their takes on the concept of the 'Donate Your Words' campaign, we reached out to a couple of industry experts.

Shekhar Badve, director-strategy and marketing, Pune-based Lokus Design, feels that it is a strong, empathetic statement that talks more about the brand being sensitive and concerned about loneliness and boredom. “It is a brilliant stand and goes beyond being a gimmick. I’m glad to see brands of stature going beyond economics and raising a voice,” he says.

Shekhar Badve
Shekhar Badve

He thinks that the packaging graphics are bang on and makes one ponder and creates a question in one’s mind. “...simple and effective,” he trails off.

“It’s the small, simple gestures that make a difference. This would help older people feel more confident when they’re outside their home and prompt the younger generation to take a step forward. Norway and Sweden have unique ideas like creating accommodation for young students with the elderlies. This not only encourages dialogue and sharing but also reduces cost of living for students. I find this very purposeful and essential. After a long time I've seen such powerful communication. Bravo Cadbury!,” he exclaims.

Alpana Parida
Alpana Parida

Over a quick telephonic conversation, Alpana Parida, managing director, DY Works, tells us that it is important for a brand to take up issues that are closest to the heart and that align with the brand’s values. Commenting on the risks involved with such packaging changes, she says, “Whatever the cause may be, the brand has to make sure that it resonates well with the target group. If it does, for a familiar brand like Cadbury, which people are sure to recognise for its purple color, dropping off letters from the packet won't be that risky.”

Ashwini Deshpande
Ashwini Deshpande

Ashwini Deshpande, co-founder, director, Elephant Design, does not see any risk in removing the logotype or words, given that the specific shade of purple (Pantone 2685C) has been used by Cadbury since 1905 and whether they win any trademark battles or not, it is firmly owned by Dairy Milk chocolate in the minds of consumers. The milk glasses are also very well known brand assets, she asserts.

“However, to believe that the intent of #DonateYourWords would be clear just be removing words from packaging is rather far fetched. This idea needs significant communication to convey the message behind it. And I am left wondering whether that communication and media expense would be more than the 30p per pack donations gathered, assuming they would be done over 1 per cent of the total number of packs sold since limited editions are rarely more than that,” she comments.

She goes on to add, “... the concept and films are very powerful. They would succeed in bringing attention to a topic that is rarely discussed or understood.”

Explaining the thresholds for such a move, she says, “If a brand plans to make big changes in packaging to convey a message, it needs to first ensure that the intended audience will still connect and identify the brand. Very few brands in the world could claim such strong ownership over colours or visual assets as Cadbury can. Brands with large number of years, geographies and spends across diverse media can experiment with such ideas on packaging, but only as limited editions. This is also true for brands that have invested in distinct, ownable shape or packaging structures. For e.g., Coco Cola, Toblerone, Yakult, Paper Boat, Absolut... the list is not too long.”