Cadbury is the UK's best-known and most loved chocolate brand. According to The Grocer's annual Biggest Brands survey, the Cadbury masterbrand is the country's single best-selling grocery product, with retail sales in 2020 over £1.8bn, more valuable in supermarkets than even Coca-Cola or Heinz. Sales got a big lift during the year from the Covid lockdown, partly because of Cadbury's comfort food status, but also because of shortages of rival Mars brands as a result of production problems. The brand tackled pandemic-related issues of loneliness and depression head-on in its marketing and also tied up with centenarian charity hero Captain Tom Moore to raise money for Age UK. The crown jewel in the collection is the Cadbury's Dairy Milk chocolate bar, available in a wide range of different flavours and variants including several co-branded with other Mondelez products such as Oreo or Daim. Dairy Milk's sales of over £640m in 2020 were more than three times the next largest brand, Mars's Galaxy, and only slightly less than the sales of the 2nd, 3rd, 4th and 5th top-sellers combined. The lead product is supported by a collection of equally well-known sidelines such as Creme Eggs, Heroes and Buttons or "countline" bars like Crunchie, Twirl, Wispa, Flake and Boost. The Cadbury's name is also loaned out to other products within the Mondelez portfolio, like Philadelphia Cream Cheese with Cadbury, or Cadbury's Fingers biscuits, as well as third party-produced cakes and ice cream. Though a household name in the UK and a few other countries (mostly Commonwealth markets like Australia, Canada and India), Cadbury's traditionally relied on other products for its international footprint. Before its acquisition in 2010 by what was then US food giant Kraft, the company - as Cadbury Schweppes - was also owner of the US Dr Pepper Snapple business as well as variety of other soft drinks around the world. It cut most of these sidelines loose to establish itself as the world's biggest confectioner, but eventually fell victim to consolidation within the global industry. It was toppled from the top spot as #1 confectioner by the acquisition of Wrigley by Mars, and soon afterwards became the target of Kraft's hostile takeover. As a result, Cadbury's already extensive confectionery portfolio was consolidated into Kraft's existing equivalent Suchard division, owner of Milka, Toblerone and other brands. Two years later, Kraft's entire snacks and confectionery business was itself spun out into a new global giant under the name Mondelez International, now joint leader in global confectionery alongside Mars/Wrigley. Mondelez' combined chocolate portfolio generated sales of $8.2bn in 2020, while gum and candy - brands such as Trident, Stimorol, Halls, Bassetts and others - added a further $2.7bn.
Capsule checked 10th June 2021
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Historical profile information for Cadbury
Adbrands Daily Update 6th May 2020: "This Doesn't Need to End". Most British ads produced under lockdown have a pretty uniform format: reality-based documentary footage of communities keeping calm and carrying on with the New Normal. Cadbury has jumped onto the same boat in its new campaign from VCCP, and it is at least one of the better entries in field. But does this approach win over consumers? I'm not sure anyone has the answer to that question, but it doesn't work with this particular consumer. Perhaps I'm the exception, but I'd prefer something a little more upbeat than the old wartime Blitz spirit. I already know what lockdown feels like; I don't need to see more of it in my advertising. Still, VCCP's latest Cadbury spot is at least in keeping with its previous work, which replaced Saatchi & Saatchi's and Fallon's high-spirited "Joy" campaigns with a much more downbeat, understated - might we even say depressing - mood that's all about "real people" and "real problems" rather than bouncing balls, drumming bears and dancing eyebrows. Well, no, this style of Cadbury's ad doesn't need to end, but I rather wish it would.
Adbrands Weekly Update 18th Jan 2018: Ads of the Week: "Mum's Birthday". A new year makes for a complete change of style for Cadbury's Dairy Milk under new agency VCCP. Gone is the surreal and stylised approach the brand has explored for the past decade. Instead, here's the heart-warming tale of an ordinary mum and her daughter, lifted by a melting performance from its young star.
Adbrands Weekly Update 29th Jun 2017: Publicis Groupe may have captured the conversation at Cannes with the launch of Marcel and its year-long sabbatical from awards events, but it hasn't yet halted the steady drop of account defections. Following a review of global creative for its Cadbury's masterbrand, Mondelez has transferred that account out of Fallon and Saatchi & Saatchi into a new split between VCCP and the Ogilvy network. VCCP will take over the brand in its biggest market, the UK & Ireland, with Ogilvy replacing Saatchi in Australia. Ogilvy already held the account in India, the rest of Asia, the Middle East, Africa and Canada.
Adbrands Weekly Update 18th Aug 2016: Mondelez has reacquired rights to make biscuits under the Cadbury's brand from long-standing licensee Burton's Biscuit Company. As a result, it will now be able to market Cadbury's Fingers and other spin-offs alongside the main Cadbury's bar chocolate brand. However, it will continue to contract out manufacturing to Burton's.
Adbrands Weekly Update 3rd Dec 2015: Mondelez is seeking a buyer for several non-core confectionery assets in Europe, including the Christmas favourites Terry's Chocolate Orange and boxed selection Terry's All Gold. Nestle could be a potential buyer, or possibly Ferrero.
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