Unlike the west with all the different chocolate brands, in India the chunk of the market share is dominated by Cadbury. It’s Dairy Milk brand is almost synonymous to chocolates and one often uses the brand name interchangeably with the common noun. This product line was launched in 1905. More than a century old and still it remains in fashion.

Kya swad hai zindagi key.. roughly translates to the flavour of life..

As I was reading about the various ad campaigns I came to know that it was a deliberate move on the part of the brand to start to target grown ups. To sell something delicious and loved by children, to the very adults who fear its harmful affects on weight and teeth, must be a challenging task. Cadbury had a plan, which obviously works out fabulously.

The snack bar adds are too funky for my taste, but the regular lines of Cadbury commercials are a delight to the senses. For me their adds are not about flawless execution or rich visuals of sensual smooth mouth-watering fantasy. The adds that I end up remembering are about people and the comforting feeling of joy and and exhilaration of celebration.

I can read you lips on your fingertips, I can feel your smile, come on my lips, and happiness in your eyes..

Kiss me, close your eyes..


Fruit and Nut, Gems, Crackle and the relatively newer lines of Temptations and Silk… The way to celebrate minor wins to major victories. For indulging in cravings on sad lonely nights or sharing in the bright daylight. With the taglines of “Kuch meetha ho jaye” (something sweet) and “Shubh Aarambh” (auspicious beginnings), Oglivy was able to Indianize a western product. Cocoa, milk, butter, sugar was trying to replace the Indian desserts.. the meetha was not in vivid red cardboard box, but a purple wrapper with a golden foil inside (I find the covers of Temptations in muted greens and browns also beautiful).

And what occasion is more Indian than an Indian wedding? I wasn’t expecting to find this commercial online, since its from the 90’s, but I was pleasantly surprised and thankful that its on youtube. Even after 20years I still loved it. The model is Riva Babbar, a popular face on Indian Television. A girl in denim overall shorts with mehendi up to her elbows. It’s her wedding, or atleast that is my impression. She is alone in her room, a life of responsibilities, love and new beginnings awaits her, but for now a Dairy Milk bar tempts her. Not wanting to spoil her wet mehendi, she uses ingenuity and her teeth to get a taste of the melting sweetness of life. I imagine bustling chaos outside her room, but here in the familiar confines of her room, all alone, she has some sweet fun.

The second add is from the Diwali series. I sometimes marvel how easy it is for cadburys to make us remember frail old sincere postmen, strict teachers or scary lonely neighbors.  In all of 30secs with uplifting music and not sounding preachy in the slightest they make me want to do good things and share happiness and sprinkle a dash of sweetness into the lives I often disregard.

This advertisement has the boyishly charming Jugar Hansraj as the the terse boss. His secretary is clearly intimidated by him and in awe of him. While the world gets ready to sparkle and dazzle, the boss gives his secretary a hard time. He chides her for forgetting to complete her tasks and she dejectedly listens. Of course, in the drawer there is a celebration pack of assorted treats for her; as well as a Diwali wish. She can’t quite believe it and thanks him almost dazed. He sends her off home and gets back to work.  I love the ad..

Whether it’s the dark and exciting Bournville that apparently you have to earn the right to eat or its the succulent temptation of the Dairy Milk Silk each advertisement series has a story. Footcandles Films, Contract Advertising are names that showed up in the adds I looked up. So its not one person or company making these campaigns, but it does feel like one vision behind it.

There were a whole series of adds that showed a family. The mother in law making vegetables that no one wanted to eat, the daughter in law demanding proof of love from her husband, the grandchildren not wanting to share their sweet. It was an Indian family with subtle modern touches. In one such ad the mother in law is shown cooking, while the daughter in law sits with a laptop. A statement in itself, that hopefully infused into a few of the viewers along with the sweetness of the Cadbury.

This mix of young with the traditional is deftly caught in each of the campaigns. While randomly clicking on suggested videos in youtube I found two strangers, most probably engaged, bonding over the eccentricities of their families and the similarities between them. A friendship unfolding and a romance budding, all over one piece of Cadbury.


And while I carefully unwrap my bar of Dairy Milk, tell me about your favourite add.



Pic and video credits to various uploaders and Cadbury.

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