Magazine article Marketing

Cadbury: Crisis, What Crisis?

Magazine article Marketing

Cadbury: Crisis, What Crisis?

Article excerpt

There are no problems at Cadbury Trebor Bassett, only 'challenges' - in his first exclusive interview since joining a company that suffered a year of setbacks, marketing director Phil Rumbol spells out to Gemma Charles why his confidence in the brand remains steadfast.

Salmonella contamination, a racism row and a product recall; it has been one of the worst years in Cadbury Trebor Bassett's 183-year history.

Last summer the company was forced to recall more than 1m chocolate bars due to salmonella contamination, which affected more than 40 people Shattering its reputation as one of the most trusted British brands, the events left the confectionery company badly bruised and prompted John Sunderland, chairman of parent Cadbury Schweppes, to urge employees to learn lessons from the affair, speaking of a 'deep concern to ensure that we do not let consumers and ourselves down'.

The racism row over the launch ads for chewing-gum brand Trident and an Easter egg recall due to incorrect labelling have been compounded by bad luck; one of Cadbury's factories in Sheffield was flooded in the recent wet weather. All this has hit the company hard; confectionery profits have fallen and a global four-year austerity drive is now in place to cut staff numbers by 15% by 2011. Alongside other food companies, Cadbury has also faced rising prices of raw materials such as milk and cocoa.

Not too many reasons to be cheerful, then, yet marketing director Phil Rumbol, in his first major interview since taking on the role at the beginning of last year, seems at ease about the 'challenges' - to use his euphemism - that have beset Cadbury since he joined from brewer InBev.

'It has been quite eventful,' is his understated account of his time so far at Cadbury. Naturally keen to avoid any more headlines pertaining to the company's awful year, Rumbol manages to draw positives from the events, saying that they have 'accelerated my becoming part of the organisation and helped me build relationships with key people not just within the UK business but also within the group'.

Rumbol has pinned his hopes on a long-term campaign for Cadbury's flagship Dairy Milk brand, which, although aimed at bringing the brand up to date, also returns to its 'glass and a half of milk' positioning The idea, he explains, is to remind consumers that Cadbury is the only mainstream chocolate made with fresh liquid milk and to tap into the feel-good factor associated with eating chocolate. 'Our product is your smile' is the phrase that, according to Rumbol, sums up the proposition. 'Of all the things I've worked on, this would be right up there as one of the most interesting and exciting,' he enthuses.

His relaxed smile doesn't even waver when it is put to him that the recent troubles might have damaged Cadbury's reputation in the minds of consumers. What this campaign is not, he argues, is an attempt to shore up a crisis-hit brand. In fact, he claims that the thinking behind the work preceded the negative events. 'One of the things that impressed me is how resilient the brand is,' he says, adding that all Cadbury's own 'key consumer measures' indicate that its brand equity is still in good shape.

That seems in stark contrast to a number of other measures, which illustrate a slip in its fortunes. Cadbury's first-half figures for the confectionery market show that while revenue was up 2% - a figure that reflects the introduction of Trident - its overall share of confectionery fell by 120 basis points. Furthermore, according to JP Morgan and ACNielsen, its share of the chocolate market fell 2.7% over the same period.

After its sales slipped behind those of Mars for the first time for three years in the four weeks to 14 October last year, Cadbury has bounced back as the chocolate market leader. However, in the year to 11 August 2007, its value share was down year on year by 1.6% to 31.5%, ahead of Mars' 26. …

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed


An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.