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V Chandramouli on the sweet success of Cadbury at the Pitch CMO Summit

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V Chandramouli on the sweet success of Cadbury at the Pitch CMO Summit

From being seen as a product primarily for children to the current ‘Shubh Aarambh’ proposition of anticipation of happiness moments, chocolate brand Cadbury has traversed a long way. In his presentation at the Mumbai leg of the Pitch CMO Summit on November 16, V Chandramouli, Director - Strategy and Chocolates, Cadbury India highlights the major successes and some challenges that the brand has faced in all these years.

Commencing his presentation, Chandramouli stated that Cadbury in India was the category leader with a market share of 70 per cent. Taking the presentation forward from there, he took the audience back to the pre-1993 phase, when Cadbury advertising was children focused, based on the fact that chocolates were meant for children.

“We were faced with the first challenge when we realised that our brand could not grow if we only focused on children. We had to appeal to all age groups,” Chandramouli said in retrospection.

Taking that observation forward, the brand came up with a new communication strategy that had two underlying themes: to be socially leading and comfortable with expressing. The legendary ‘girl dancing on the cricket field’ advertisement was born out of that insight. The advertisement gave permission to adults to be child like.

Elaborating more on the strategies used to increase the marketshare, Chandramouli explained, “During the 1999-2002 phase, we introduced the Rs 5 price point, which helped in the small town connect.”

The next challenge faced by Cadbury was to grow consumption. “That is when we took on the ‘mithai’ market post 2004,” he explained. That was a huge opportunity as well as a challenge for Cadbury as the mithai market size in India was around $10 billion. And ‘mithai’ has multiple regional, textural and recipe options. The task at hand was to create cultural relevance.

Commenting on ‘Kuch Meetha Ho Jaye’, the positioning line for the brand, Chandramouli said, “The line literally translated to ‘Let’s have something sweet’. But it had an underlying thought of ‘Let’s Celebrate.” He further explained that ‘celebrations’ and ‘anticipation of happiness’ were the two occasions where they could position Cadbury against the traditional ‘mithai’.

The ‘Pappu Pass ho Gaya’ and the ‘Pehli Tareek’ campaigns successfully positioned Cadbury as a product that marked celebrations. The campaigns played with various occasions to communicate celebrations. “People opened new stores and distributed Cadbury chocolates. And that was an achievement,” Chandramouli beamed.

The ‘Shubh Aarambh’ campaign currently on air defines the ‘anticipation of happiness’ moments. “The three ads that are currently on air are targeted at people across age groups,” he added.

However, despite the insightful campaigns and a proposition that is perfect, the challenge that Cadbury still faces is that the consumption is not converted into behaviour. Chandramouli explained, “We are now focusing on touchpoints of ‘Shubh Aarambh’. We have tied up with matrimonial, travel, property sites to remind people in real time to mark a new beginning or do ‘Shubh Aarambh’ with Cadbury chocolates. We have also engaged ourselves with car dealers, and chocolates are handed out at these outlets.”

“Be clear of the role you want the 360 campaign to play for you”, Chandramouli concluded.

Besides Chandramouli, the other top marketers who shared their rich marketing lessons and expert views at the Pitch CMO Summit 2010 in Mumbai included Sanjay Behl, CEO, Reliance Big TV; Sanjay Tripathy, Executive Vice President and Head – Marketing, HDFC Standard Life; Shripad Nadkarni, Founder-Director, MarketGate Consulting; Anup Jain, Director, Marketing, Pizza Hut Indian Sub-continent; Ronita Mitra , Head – Corporate Brand Group, ICICI Bank; Vinay Bhatia, VP - Marketing and Loyalty, Shoppers Stop; Sriram Padmanabhan, General Manager, Marketing, Ford India; Peshwa Acharya, VP & Head – Marketing and Consumer Experience, Reliance Retail; and Pratik Seal, Head, Marketing, Micromax.


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