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Former Cadbury’s marketing director warns sales focus risks precipitating brand decline

Phil Rumbol, former marketing director at Cadbury’s, has used a blog piece as a platform to call upon the confectionary majer to move away from innovation intended simply to sell products toward ‘building brand value in a sustainable way.’

The founding partner of creative firm 101 singled out his former employer for criticism, warning that the ‘national treasure’ was in danger of being ‘relegated to ingredient status’.

Rumbol wrote: “Since the Kraft/Mondelez takeover, there's been a succession of new Cadbury products - Cadbury with Philadelphia, Oreo, Daim, and now Ritz and Lu (no, me neither.) Can you spot the pattern? Aside from the merits of each of these products, what does this say about the Cadbury brand? I'll tell you what it says: 'We're owned by an American Cheese and Biscuit company.'”

Criticising the brands current Willy Wonka-style Joyville campaign Rambol added: “… in classic fashion, they've made the mistake of thinking brand positioning and brand communication are one and the same, and have completely missed the point that this brand behaviour says anything but Joyville. It’s not so much Joyville as ‘Topline Synergy-Ville.’ These products might generate short-term sales, but they do absolutely nothing for the long-term health of the brand.”

This approach amounts to ‘lazy marketing’ in Rumbol’s view and one which poses problems for the firm in the medium to long term.