Home >Companies >News >70 years of Cadbury in India: Dairy Milk ads, then and now

New Delhi: Cadbury Dairy Milk, the brand which let Indians experience Asli Swad Zindagi Ka (the real taste of life), has taken a high-ground in its advertising after touching the 70 years milestone in the country. Launched in 1948, Dairy Milk became synonymous with chocolates in the country. Celebrating the milestone, Mondelez India, the company that owns the brand, has given a fresh spin to its ‘Kuch Meetha Ho Jaaye’ campaign talking about why inherent goodness and generosity is important in our relationships.

Made by advertising agency Ogilvy India, the ad features an elder brother who, out of goodness of his heart, gives up his chocolate in favour of his younger brother. The campaign celebrates the generous instinct in people and showcases how such moments go on to strengthen human relationships.

“On the brand’s 70th year in India, the new ‘Kuch Accha Ho Jaaye, Kuch Meetha Ho Jaaye’ campaign, will aim to recapture the Cadbury Dairy Milk spirit, strengthen connections with consumers and shine a spotlight on people that go the extra mile for others ," said Anil Viswanathan, director of marketing (chocolates), at Mondelez India.

Cadbury during its initial years relied heavily on print advertising and it was only a few decades ago that it forayed into TV ads. During the 80s, its television campaign ‘Sometimes, Cadbury’s can say it better than words’ featured a happy family enjoying little moments of togetherness.

But it was the 1994 ‘Asli Swad Zindagi Ka’ Dairy Milk ad that broke brand’s ‘kids-only’ image and positioned it as a product for adult consumption. The iconic ad, which featured a young woman dancing on a cricket field with absolute abandon enjoying a bar of Cadbury Dairy Milk, remains one of the most memorable campaigns in Indian advertising.

“We have leveraged forward looking attitudes and culture which are aspirational right from the girl running into the cricket field to older people eating chocolates and singing in the street," Viswanathan added.

In the 2000s, Bollywood actor Amitabh Bachchan became Cadbury’s first celebrity ambassador to promote Dairy Milk under the ‘Kuchh Meetha Ho Jaaye’ series of ads which positioned the chocolate brand as a substitute for traditional sweets during festive occasions . It was also for the first time when the brand started targeting rural consumers through its ‘Miss Palampur’ campaign. The actor became the voice of the brand when Cadbury found itself embroiled in the worm controversy.

“Bachchan has a universal appeal and stands for trust, generosity and authenticity and his association has been immensely beneficial for the brand Cadbury," said Viswanathan.

Sensing the varied consumer needs across the country, Mondelez India, between 2008 and 2010, started rolling out value products like Dairy Milk Shots (small balls of chocolate) and high-end offerings like dark chocolate brand Bournville, Fuse, 5Star 3D and Dairy Milk Silk which now comes with multiple variants like aerated bubbly, Oreo and Nuts. Silk, the company claims, is second largest variant after the mother brand.

Chocolates are not part of our Indian food culture, so when Cadbury’s entered India the task was to ensure that the category is adopted, recalled Piyush Pandey, executive chairman and creative director, Ogilvy South Asia. Ogilvy is the only ad agency that has worked on Cadbury’s advertising in India.

“The advertising kept evolving from ‘Kuchh Meetha Ho Jaaye’ to the current brand thought ‘Kuchh Accha Ho Jaaye, Kuchh Meetha Ho Jaaye’ campaign which talks about extending generosity to oneself as well as to others," he said.

According to Harish Bijoor, brand strategy expert and founder of Harish Bijoor Consults Inc., the brand Cadbury has come a long way from its initial functional advertising. “The current campaign is more humane and spiritual in nature. In current times, when we are surrounded by dividing forces and forced to see negativity in others, celebrating the goodness and generosity seems like a good brand positioning for a brand which has been loved by so many Indians," he said.

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