It was not very long ago that Cadbury melted our hearts with the Gorilla Ad. Cadbury could totally take the credit for bringing back Phil Collins’ ‘In the air tonight’ on the top of radio charts. Sure there’s always been a brand war between Cadbury and the locally loved Whittakers, but Cadbury somehow managed to hold on and retain it’s share of cocoa lovers. But what’s this? Chocolates without cocoa??? Now that’s where Cadbury totally lost it!
Replacing cocoa with palm oil as part of a cost cutting exercise was apalling, especially after being voted as New Zealand’s most trusted brand, as per a recent Reader’s Digest survey. This clearly didn’t go down well with the chocolate lovers and more so the Auckland Zoo, who boycotted the brand over environmental concerns. Auckland Zoo and other environmentalists made it loud and clear that palm oil production is hugely responsible for the destruction of the rainforests, eventually posing a threat to the endangered ‘orang-utans’.
Now the suprising thing is that Cadbury has always been in the good books of ‘sustainability’ but was so close to being on the ‘greenwashing’ hit list, by claiming to be sustainable yet killing rainforests. The outcry that spread faster with Facebook did get Cadbury to quickly accept it’s mistake and make ammends. Now this raises two points. The numero Uno being that a company has to remember that any decisions it takes about the product effect its bigger brand value. You obviously don’t want your brand to be perceived in the wrong light, especially in today’s time when social media spreads one negative word against you like wildfire. These things not only hamper sales and the brand image but also give your competitors the chance to topple you over.
Point two is that communicating sustainability needs to be looked at more closely. One day Cadbury is winning accolades for the use of sustainable cocoa and the next they are using obviously ‘not so sustainable’ palm oil.
The goods thing here though is that Cadbury was quick in its response…it was none other than the MD who apologised. After all, it’s the consumers that breathe life into the brand, or in this case cocoa in the chocolate.