Inside Cadbury's pivot to VOD with Creme Egg experiment

On Cadbury Creme Egg “no TV” venture into the video-on-demand space

With a brief window to sell its iconic Creme Egg product, this year Cadbury made the off-kilter decision to bypass TV altogether and plough all of its budget into the video-on-demand (VOD) sphere - a strategy it now plans to apply to the other brands in its stable.

A path less trodden for FMCG chocolate brand, Cadbury launched Eatertainment - a streaming platform where fans can access content to heighten the Creme Egg experience. The company has also partnered with Amazon Prime Video on two cinematic pieces of Amazon-produced content that will sit exclusively on the Amazon Prime Hub, the latest brand to use the platform to distribute branded content.

'No TV'

“We wanted to say 'no' to TV,” explained Declan Duggan, brand manager Cadbury Dairy Milk, Mondelez International on the brief delivered to its long-term ad agency, Elvis. “We wanted to see what kind of response we could get from that. How can do a non-broadcast campaign?"

While there have been several major Cadbury Creme Egg campaigns, its 1985 ‘How Do You Eat Yours?’ work is arguably its most memorable. “We wanted Elvis to bring this back, and celebrate the uniqueness of all the different ways you can eat Creme Eggs, and bring that multi-sensory aspect to life,” Duggan said.

Given the small window Creme Eggs are on shelves, Raphel Capitani, brand manager, Cadbury Creme Egg and Easter Eggs admitted that the team "needed to make sure that people remember our brand at this time of year. It’s a huge pressure for us to create engagement."

In the past Cadbury has relied on interactive and quirky advertising to draw in its Creme Egg audience, believing its fans have a penchant for cheeky humour. Last year, for example, as part of 'It’s Hunting Season' Cadbury hacked the social media feeds, billboards, websites and live experiences of other companies to hide a White Creme Egg in their advertising.

The year before, it developed a questionable variant with the Heinz Creme Egg Mayo that certainly drew attention. Previously, Cadbury had not released new creative since 2017, and that was the first time it had done so for four years.

"The majority of our reach comes through out-of-home," Capitani admitted on Cadbury's Creme Eggs' lack of hero ads.

Cadbury as a media company

In response to Cadbury's unusual brief, Elvis came back with the idea of streaming content on a VOD platform called 'Eatertainment'; essentially turning Cadbury into a media company.

Aware that from past campaigns Creme Egg fans like to interact with the brand, the team at Cadbury loved the idea as it “enabled us to show how people enjoy a Creme Egg in so many different ways, through various series of original content,” explained Duggan, who also revealed that the idea would ultimately cost the same as a that of a broadcast campaign.

The rise of digital entertainment has created the biggest revolution in UK leisure habits in history, with the UK spending a record £3bn on streaming music, films and TV in 2019.

“With TV you see all the different channels and providers investing really heavily and fighting tooth and nail to get the best content to make people come to their platform. And it’s the same with advertising," said Duggan. "Through streaming, we can entertain people in a way that we’re not seen as getting in the way.”

“We always try to bring something new for our audience in terms of reaching new, younger demographic who might not of heard about Creme Egg before," explained Capitani. "We want to recruit this new generation, so being on digital landscapes is key for us."

Eatertaiment

On the Eatertainment platform currently sit three short films that explore the ways a consumer can eat the Creme Egg product through an imaginative storyline. One film is titled 'The Last Delivery' and follows a baker and her gang battling low supplies, so they decide to perform a heist.

Alongside the short films, Cadbury has produced a number of mini-series. A nod to 'Man Vs. Food,' Eatertainment users can follow 'Girl Vs. Goo' - a food show following a chef as she visits different restaurants to see the various ways they cook Creme Eggs.

There is also a 'mindful-mess' Gooru series, that stars a 'spiritual eggsplorer of the highest order' - a spoof of mindfulness videos.

Users can unlock more videos by taking a picture of a Creme Egg.

The content hub will also tap into the craze of ASMR, with scenes of the Creme Egg being made in the factory, with the repetitive noise of the machines and the wrappers generating soothing sounds for those inclined.

Amazon Prime Video partnership

Beyond the streaming platform, from February, fans will find two cinematic pieces of original content sat exclusively on the Amazon Prime Hub, written and produced by Amazon.

As part of the partnership, Cadbury has a media plan with Amazon on IMDb, Fire TV, and all the Amazon pages, with media assets directing people to watch the content to drive traffic.

“This is the first time it has done a partnership of this sort with an FMCG brand. It’s a different kind of relationship in that we are fully-involved, but not making the content ourselves which is interesting," said Capitani.

Moving forward

Whether this method will extend to Cadbury's other brands, Capitani said: “It’s something we’ve talked about internally, but it's not something we have defined."

The future of the platform will, of course, lie in the success of its reach and the level of online engagement.

It's not the first time, however, that a Cadbury brand has ventured online with long-form content. Last year, the Cadbury Heroes team created its own YouTube channel, where it uploaded two half-hour episodes that brought families together.

"The business will review both those campaigns to see how they both performed and then make a decision on whether its something we continue to do," said Duggan. "It's something that's definitely being discussed. I know there are other campaigns where they’re looking at platforms etc."

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