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Did you like the latest Cadbury’s Diwali campaign?

There is very less chance that you wouldn’t have come across the emotion rich Cadbury’s Diwali campaign. It has been doing rounds on WhatsApp heavily since last few days. So far, I have received it in over 20 WhatsApp groups I am part of and also from numerous other fellow professionals from advertising domain. It’s a very calm soothing video which touches our heart be it a normal customer or a marketing / advertising professional. Cadbury’s has continued with the brand theme of Cadbury’s Celebrations being an alternative to gifting sweets to your near and dear ones over a festive season. However, Cadbury’s takes a step further and shares how they are also concerned about the small store owners around and with the help of this campaign they are lending their helping hand to them.

As a blogger, marketer and a digital media professional I could see couple of perspectives in this campaign, and in this blogpost I have shared them.

Cadbury's Diwali campaign with hyperlocal targeting
Credits: Screenshot of video on Cadbury’s Celebrations YouTube Channel

What was Cadbury’s Diwali campaign all about?

First of all let’s clear air on the two versions of videos that one could find on Cadbury’s Celebrations YouTube channel. The one below with the 2 mins duration is a case study video where the brand has detailed out the reasoning and execution details of the campaign. The target audience for this video is, mostly the fellow marketers, business professionals who might be interested to the know the background about the campaign.

While the second video of one minute is the ad film that as a customer you might receive on your YouTube feeds or mostly as a WhatsApp forward. However, a catch in this film is that, the store names shown are just for representation purposes. As a user when you encounter this Cadbury’s Diwali ad campaign on YouTube you might see the store names that are nearby your physical location. Thanks to your mobile device’s location setting the ad will detect your physical location and show you the nearby stores, which might be relevant for you.

The Campaign Approach

Now, let’s understand the stakeholders of this campaign. Who all will be impacted by this campaign (I hope that’s why ad campaigns are made, there should be someone impacted by the communication!)?

  • Cadbury’s Customers – The brand integrates its product well into the video ad. And it sends across an emotional message with enough warmth in it to convey how caring the brand has been towards the society.
  • Nearby small store owners – The stores that would get picked up by the technological innovation and shown to the users through the video ad, might get some visibility.

I would definitely place myself in the above two target audience’s shoes to share how I felt after seeing the latest Cadbury’s Diwali campaign. I would further analyze the campaign as a marketer and as a digital media professional too to share my views. So let’s see, how different are my perspectives about this campaign when I wear each of the above hats.

How various stakeholders might experience it?

As a Customer: Frankly, so far I haven’t been served this ad. Even if I received this ad, what would I feel about it and what action would I take? There are three possibilities – 1) I might love or show cold shoulder towards this ad. 2) I might go ahead and buy Cadbury’s (which anyways I would have done for Diwali!). 3) I might get to know (and might go and buy) from the nearby stores that the video ad showcased.

As a Nearby Small Store Owner: If the store owner is served the ad, s/he might be really rejoiced to see his/her store being promoted by Cadbury’s Diwali campaign. In fact, many of them would scratch their heads on, why their store was showing up on a Cadbury’s video ad ๐Ÿ™‚ Alternatively, they might see a marginal increase in footfalls of the store and may be someone quotes that, they got to know about the store from this campaign video ad. So, basically the store owner will remain in a confused state irrespective of all above scenarios.

As a Marketer: A brilliant thought at first sight. A prominent brand going extending the canvas beyond the usual Diwali themes of gifting each other or son/daughter returning home for festival, this is a bold step. Considering the pain through which small store owners have gone through since last few months, its a great moral gesture of supporting them while you grow yourself. Its a nice way to uplift the ecosystem around you. It will definitely be a campaign that will be talked about at length for years to come, exhibited at every conference / conclave / meetup and win scores of awards. The creative thought has been the showstopper in this campaign.

As a Digital Marketer: The innovation is neither new nor done for the first campaign, as claimed in the case study video. Karthik Srinivasan writes about how such hyperlocal campaigns have been done in the past in the country. The execution involves, an integration of YouTube Director Mix (to create multiple versions of videos), DV360 (to serve the ad), CM (for ad serving), and a feed to track the store names basis the pincodes. It isn’t easy to get together all these tools at that scale, as it would involve substantial monetary investment to get there. Only few brands could afford to do it. As far as I know there isn’t any further complexity in the technology behind it. Happy to know if you see through any other complications added to the mix.

What is the impact of this campaign?

I see many people complaining about the nearby stores being not displayed to them in the video. Part of the reason could be because the location settings on their devices would be switched off, or they might be actually watching the organic video on YouTube channel or a shared version of it. Hence, we see many negative comments on the brand video. Keeping these small misunderstandings apart, everyone seems to be happy and touch emotional about the overall creative thought behind the campaign, and which is true to a large extent. Full marks to the creative agency team who cracked this idea and thought. Though the technology was available, the differentiating factor in this Cadbury’s Diwali campaign has been the brilliant amalgamation of insight (lend a helping hand to nearby store owners) and strike an emotional connect with the customers.

So, clearly Cadbury’s has already earned a lot of goodwill amongst its customers and fence sitters. This is very evident when you scan through mobile and notice in how many WhatsApp groups you have received the video. Now, the question is how many of us non-Cadbury’s consumers will actually go ahead and extend the ‘video sharing’ gesture to an actual transaction and buy Cadbury’s Celebrations. This will be known only after the quarter ends!

Now, what about the nearby small store owners? Will they see an uplift in their business? Will the footfalls increase to their stores? Or will just Cadbury’s run away with probably an increased sales figures and few trophies at award events? This closing loop is absolutely not visible at present. As the case study video suggests, thousands of small stores have been mapped at the back end. However, its not clear whether Cadbury’s take permission from these small store owners before promoting them? As claimed by Cadbury’s if the beneficiary (if at all !!) has to be the small store owner, it is absolutely ethical for a country’s major brand to seek consent of these owners before running a campaign on their plight. Well, the practical element of this angle seems infeasible and also doesn’t seem to have been attempted, else we would have seen a few more happy faces of small store owners in the case study. Any collaborative campaign needs to have a consent between the participants. I wonder if Cadbury’s team would stand up and say, “we are after all giving visibility to small stores”. True! But, who’s the larger beneficiary? Are the thousands of small store owners going to benefit from this? It might be too early to critically comment on this end loop, but would be happy to make a correction to this blogpost, if in future I come across a claim by Cadbury’s that they did impact at least a few small store owners!

By the way when I tried to search Sahil Jewellers in Delhi, I found the below result, which in itself is self-explanatory on who is going to be the ultimate beneficiary of this campaign.

Creativity is respected, but not at the mercy of other’s plight! I rest my opinion. Happy to debate ๐Ÿ™‚


I am presently employed as Associate Director (Paid Media) at Performics.Resultrix, a Publicis Groupe company. Prior to this role I was employed with HCL Technologies as Senior Manger (Digital Marketing). My earlier digital marketing assignments were with ZenithOptimediaIndia (Publicis Groupe) and AdGlobal360. You can follow me on Twitter @anandan22 for all conversations on digital marketing.

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