Why Cadbury shared its Diwali ad with local stores through a first-of-a-kind use of AI

Mondelez's Anil Viswanathan and Ogilvy India's Sukesh Nayak discuss Cadbury's 'most generous ad ever', which helped promote more than 1,800 local businesses

e4m by Neeta Nair
Updated: Nov 11, 2020 3:44 PM

For years Mondelez has promoted itself as the perfect gifting option during festivities, but this Diwali, through its latest ad, the brand extended that attribute to lakhs of good quality products from small businesses which have been struggling solely because of the pandemic. Cadbury Celebrations with the help of their agency Ogilvy India managed that with the use of artificial intelligence, which created India’s first hyper-personalized ad. It led to countless permutations and combinations of the same ad to highlight the products sold by more than 1800 local retailers across the country, throwing up the closest ones to the consumer’s geographical location.

Very rarely do we see big brands celebrating and encouraging smaller brands, Anil Viswanathan, Senior Director, Marketing (chocolates), Insights and Analytics, Mondelez India talks about the thought behind the ad. He also explains why the brand went ahead with it despite running the risk of taking the limelight away from Cadbury Celebrations in the process of showing so many alternate gift options. He says, “This year, more than any other, warrants for acts that signify new beginnings and the potential of goodness in an imperfect world. Our latest campaign infuses this thought at the back of evoking generosity. Banking on the proposition of ‘Iss Diwali Aap #KiseKhushKarenge’, we took a step further leading by example by creating ‘Not Just A Cadbury Ad’ – our most generous ad ever, that helps us promote 1800+ local retailers, across 260+ pin codes, in Mumbai, Delhi, Pune, Indore, Ahmedabad and Lucknow, giving them the much-needed geo-targeted visibility, among relevant consumers.” 

But how did they do it? When the ad is played on your phones, these stores will be featured against the product category for specific pin codes.  For example, someone residing near INA in Delhi will see gifting options from the jewellery store in the nearby South Extension area and someone living in Bandra in Mumbai will see a jewellery store from the Khar area.

Someone watching in Golf Course Road, Gurgaon will see this version of the ad:

Someone watching in Mahalakshmi will see this version of the ad:

Someone watching in Powai will see this version of the ad: 

Sukesh Nayak, CCO, Ogilvy India, the agency behind the digital campaign elaborates how they tracked down each of these small businesses across the country and presented the closest one to the consumer as an option for gifting. He says, “Most local businesses don’t have a digital footprint, so we had to individually get their consent and use pin codes to list them across cities. The best thing was, the small businesses were very excited to be part of this idea. Our Cadbury sellers were equally very excited to have the local stores not just share the neighbourhood but also an ad with them. The biggest challenge in executing this idea was finding a tech partner who was as excited about the idea as we were. Once we found the partner in DeltaX it took about a month and a half to execute the whole thing. In total, from the time of thinking to executing, I would say we took about two months.”

But did the core idea come from the agency or the brand, Sukesh explains, “We do work across various festivals with Mondelez and this was part of our festive brief. On the Diwali brief, observing the current scenario, one of my team members shared this idea with me. And I thought this is brilliant. We just have to do it. The reaction from the client team was also the same. We must do this. Then came the task of figuring how to do this. The journey from conception to execution on this idea has been truly a learning experience for all of us. We are using Facebook and YouTube to serve the localised versions of the ad based on the geolocation of the viewer.”

As publicized, it is clearly one of the most generous ads ever. As far as the messaging and the plot is concerned with the brand which has funded the ad comes into the picture at the end of the video much after publicizing the local partners. It uses the setting of an Indian family rejoicing on the occasion of Diwali wherein the woman of the house gifts something brought from the local stores to every member of the family. It wraps up with a thoughtful message-- When all of us support our local stores, all of us can have a Happy Diwali. Beautifully putting the spotlight on the act of generosity, Mondelez through  ‘Iss Diwali Aap #KiseKhushKarenge? has continued the legacy of Cadbury’s ‘Kuch Achha Ho Jaye, Kuch Meetha Ho Jaye’.

Talking about adding sparkle to the lives of thousands of small businesses during these festivities Viswanathan says, “Throughout festivities exchanging gifts and sweets holds a significant emotional value and embarks the beginning of a new era, and it makes us extremely proud about the fact that we humbly found a place in this important tradition. Furthermore, our presence in these festivities took up a new meaning this pandemic with consumers seeking trusted brands like Cadbury, Oreo, etc., to spread joy and send season’s greetings, however, not just to their loved ones. As far as this ad is concerned, it leverages Artificial Intelligence and is possibly India’s first hyper-personalized ad. We are certain that this will help in instilling a better recall for local sellers and cascade into action once people start visiting and purchasing from them, and an even stronger consumer connect for the brand through a new level of personalized engagement within the digital realm.” 

The ‘Not just a Cadbury ad’ is certainly a sign of a fast adapting ad industry which uses technology not just to further the ad’s reach but way before by weaving it into storytelling, Nayak says at some point all creative agencies will have to accept what technology brings to the table. He adds, “I have always said that just using data to increase reach is not good enough. It builds no affinity, no connect, no nothing. It’s a mere transaction and brands have to be more than just mere transaction. Technology enables us to connect better. Hence we must use technology to tell better, engaging stories.” 

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