Reviewer: Prathap Suthan
Prathap Suthan is chief explorer at brand consulting firm The Advisory and chief creative officer at iYogi, a technical support provider for computers. With around 23 years’ experience in advertising, Suthan is best known for the India Shining campaign, among others.
Good cast: Prathap Suthan
The new advertisement for Cadbury Bournville by Ogilvy and Mather India shows a representative from the company examining a cocoa bean. He puts one on the side as it is not up to the mark. To his surprise and that of the cocoa traders, the bean starts crying, disappointed at being rejected, emphasizing, perhaps, the company’s pursuit of the perfect cocoa bean.
What did you think of the ad?
It is a competent film. The idea of Cadbury searching for the perfect cocoa beans is tediously good. Good cast. Africa looks like Africa. The introduction of the crying cocoa bean is sticky. And the post is authentic. For the wannabes who think dark chocolate is the way to nirvana and social standing, the Ghana bit is a discerning barb.
Do you think this ad works for the brand?
Is Bournville going inward with its ingredient story? Or outward, about earning it? For the gourmands, Ghana is passé. For them, it’s the Chuao region of Venezuela where the finest of Criollo beans are grown—Porcelana. And they worship Trinitario beans from Ecuador—the more preferred bean for rich dark chocolate, along with Rio Caribe and Carenero from Venezuela. So, on that front, a little googling can peck down Bournville. Despite that, I think Bournville is Cadbury’s answer to the growing mass premium brands like Lindt, Van Houten, Dove and Hershey’s, etc. Personally, the thought of “you have to earn it” is a difficult one. While the thought is elitist, the earlier campaigns’ wry humour kills the romance of dark chocolate. It’s a category that demands indulgence, especially when you aim for high ground. Consider these marquee brands. Scharffen Berger, DeLafee, Knipschildt, Valrhona, Amedei, Richart, Noka and Godiva. I can bet that none would travel this road.
Bean story: Dark chocolate demands indulgence, not wry humour.
The problem is this: Bournville has a history. Earlier advertising genes, plus an established price band. People who want fine chocolate wouldn’t go to Bournville with a bargepole. Me included. If Ghana has to work overtime, Cadbury could have launched a new Rs 400 a bar chocolate brand. It was worth it in an uninformed market. There are people out there who’d try the new mystery. They should have left Bournville in Bournville.
How does this ad compare with the other ads from Cadbury?
The big one for me is that what is the connect to “you have to earn it”? The bean crying? That you have to be of a certain benchmark to be chosen? Ouch. That’s tenuous. Obviously this is a break from CDM (Cadbury Dairy Milk chocolate) and their beautiful commercials. Bournville always had an over-the-top madness to it—at least the giant crow commercial—and they could have continued that.
As told to Gouri Shah