Magazine article Marketing

The Marketing Society Forum: Do Consumers Care Whether Cadbury Is British-Owned?

Magazine article Marketing

The Marketing Society Forum: Do Consumers Care Whether Cadbury Is British-Owned?

Article excerpt

Cadbury, a British institution with a philanthropic heritage and a high marketing profile epitomised by its 'gorilla' ad campaign, is now the target of serious acquisition attempts from the US.

YES - ALLYSON STEWART-ALLEN, DIRECTOR, INTERNATIONAL MARKETING PARTNERS

I think consumers do care when there's a threat to one of their favourite brands, especially one with such strong cultural meaning and heritage.

Cadbury has a firm place in British history and is associated with many historical and emotional events, including one of the strongest: childhood. It is seen as wholesome and paternalistic in the way it looked after its employees and the community.

So what concerns Cadbury's many fans is the brand's philanthropy, Britishness and meaning being replaced and reformulated for global audiences, rendering it meaningless in its home market.

As a UK-based American who watched with similar interest the InBev takeover of US icon Anheuser-Busch recently, so far, little tweaking to the brand seems to have taken place.

The game is about market dominance and share rather than upsetting the loyal custom and cash flow from the fans. Let's hope Kraft plays the game similarly carefully, should it win the battle for Cadbury.

NO - BART MICHELS, MANAGING DIRECTOR, ADDED VALUE UK

First Abbey, then Asda and now Cadbury - for crying out loud.

A little British gem, potentially going the way of many before it in the worldly financial machine. It's not news that local institutions are sometimes bought by predatory international companies, but it always leaves one feeling a little sad.

Good old Cadbury. Born in Bournville, with homely Midlands philanthropic roots, the spiritual home of chocolate, the purveyor of life's little innocent simple pleasures, it could finally go Stateside - but do consumers really care?

The media will make this another example of British business failure, and the tabloids will have you believe that, as Americans don't know how to make real chocolate, it's the end as we know it.

However, as long as Cadbury can preserve its local roots in personality, use gorillas, not put a hint of Hershey or Kraft anywhere on pack, and, above all, keep sacred the glass-and-a-half taste that people really buy into, all this will soon be forgotten. …

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