Magazine article Marketing

Mark Ritson on Branding: Cadbury's Decision to BOGOF Is a Strategic Error

Magazine article Marketing

Mark Ritson on Branding: Cadbury's Decision to BOGOF Is a Strategic Error

Article excerpt

There are two kinds of brand management: intentional branding and holistic branding. Intentional branding is all about what brand managers intend to do with the brand. Usually, this involves a list of the traditional activities associated with branding - everything from logo design to integrated marketing communications.

Then there is holistic branding, which goes beyond the intentions of the branding team and adopts the consumer's viewpoint. Holistic branding considers every possible interaction, intended or not, that consumers have with the brand.

Too often a brand manager's myopic focus on intentional branding comes at the expense of the holistic perspective. Take Cadbury's Dairy Milk.

From an intentional viewpoint, Cadbury is embarking on an ambitious pounds 20m campaign focusing on the centenary celebrations of the brand, using television, print, radio, online and in-store activity. The campaign is based around the aspirational message 'You dream it, we make it' and emphasises the rich, smooth qualities of the chocolate bars.

Then there is the holistic view. At the moment, many consumers of Dairy Milk have a single recurring brand experience that is anything but aspirational.

For the past month across the UK, Cadbury has been running a buy-one-get-one-free promotion through WH Smith. As consumers approach the checkout, their first exposure to Dairy Milk and its sub-brands is piles of chocolate bars, often 10-deep, on the front of the sales counter.

Then, as they pay for their newspaper, they are asked by a shop assistant whether they would like to buy two large Dairy Milk bars for the price of one. This, right now, is the real Dairy Milk brand experience for millions.

So what's wrong with this promotion? Well, pretty much everything. Using a crude BOGOF promotion such as this instantly commodifies the Cadbury brand. While pounds 20m of advertising attempts to build the brand associations of Dairy Milk and make it appear more than just another chocolate bar, the effect of being offered two for one instantly emphasises the fact that this is just another product available in bulk at discount prices. Don't buy it because of its richness and specialness, buy it because you get two for the price of one.

Those who do buy these two large bars are unlikely to consume them immediately. …

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