Blog: Dean BestCadbury's sweet showing raises Eyebrows

Dean Best | 25 February 2009

“We've been working hard but we've been having a little bit of fun, too.”

So said Cadbury boss Todd Stitzer today (25 February) as he ended his commentary of the confectionery group's 2008 numbers with a showing of the company's latest off-the-wall UK ad.

(If you've not seen it by now, here's the link – Stitzer appeared to particularly like the bit with the balloon).

Judging by Cadbury's results, the company has been working hard in recent months, a period in which it has become what Stitzer calls a “pure-play” confectionery business.

The demerger of its beverage business in the Americas and its agreement to sell its drinks operations in Australasia has allowed to the company to focus on its chocolate, candy and gum portfolio.

Sales, profits and margins all rose last year, a performance that should sate the demands of activist investor Nelson Peltz, who, just before Christmas 2007, demanded that Cadbury show “meaningful operational progress in 2008”.

Cadbury has been helped by a series of innovative marketing campaigns, including, most famously, the Gorilla ad for Cadbury Dairy Milk.

Stitzer said the latest campaign – dubbed Eyebrows – had taken off after just one showing on UK television, thanks to the power of the Internet.

“We played it once and the Internet took over. It's the magic of new marketing,” Stitzer said.

“It's pretty efficient for what you invest and what you get out of it. But it has to be truly breakthrough – it has to be different.”

Given the turmoil in the economy, Cadbury's performance in 2008, and confidence about the year ahead (it did, after all, issue guidance on the year ahead, unlike some of its peers) is sure to have raised eyebrows in the financial community today.


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