Cadbury and the National Trust are under fire from both the Church of England and Theresa May after rebranding their annual Easter Egg Trails event as the Great British Egg Hunt, crucially omitting the Christian festival from the title.
May, a vicar's daughter, branded the marketing decision as "absolutely ridiculous" and said she didn't know "what they are thinking about, frankly".
The archbishop of York, John Sentamu, highlighted the Cadbury founder’s Quaker roots and penchant for Christian charity. He said: “It is obvious that for him Jesus and justice were two sides of the one coin. To drop Easter from Cadbury’s Easter Egg Hunt in my book is tantamount to spitting on the grave of Cadbury."
A spokesperson for the Church of England also accused the two brands of “airbrushing faith from Easter”.
However despite the change in campaign title, the Egg Hunt’s marketing collateral features many references to the Easter holiday, with the event’s own website encouraging attendees to ‘Enjoy Easter Fun’ and listing ‘Easter Egg Hunt dates and times’.
A spokesperson from Cadbury reinforced this, stating: "It is simply not true to claim that Easter does not feature in our marketing communications or on our products. It is clear to see that within our communications we visibly state the word Easter."
They added: “We want to reassure consumers of our commitment to Easter, which is very prominent within our activity. We will continue to use ‘Easter’ prominently in our commercial campaigns as we do now and in the future."
The National Trust also refuted claims it is “downplaying the significance of Easter”.
Experiential agency RPM has delivered the event for Cadbury since 2014.
Cadbury has again come under fire this year for the 2016 marketing decision to drop Easter from the front of its chocolate egg range packaging, highlighting on social media that ‘it’s clearly stated on back of the pack & embossed on some of our eggs’.
Interestingly the Church has not taken issue with marketing around Cadbury’s Creme Egg product this year. The Kraft-owned company has declared the three-month period that the eggs are on shelves as ‘Creme Egg Hunting Season’, without mentioning Easter in its communications at all.