A Timeline of Cadbury Adverts

Taking a look at the ways in which Cadbury choses to advertise their products throughout the years can give us a very good sense of the ways in which the Cadbury company values have changed and evolved since their beginning in 1824.   Examining the way adverts have changed can also tell us a great deal about the public opinion and how the public view and values has progressed.

In 1824 john Cadbury opened a shop that sold tea, coffee, and chocolate beverage (among other things).  As a Quaker, Cadbury felt that these drinks were healthy alternatives to alcoholic beverages.  They were healthy in that the water would be boiled before being mixed or steeped with chocolate, coffee, or tea.

The Original Cadbury Shop

Cadbury’s Quaker Convictions had a great influence on how the company would market their products in the coming years. Cadbury’s Cocoa Essence was a pivotal product in the growth of the Cadbury Company, and came about due to adaptations in the processing of cocoa powder, mainly the van Houten’s Hydraulic Press.  For the fist time, Cadbury could accurately marked an unadulterated, or “pure” cocoa powder.

The emphasis on Purity began with Cadbury’s Cocoa Essence

Through the 1880’s and 1890’s we see many well-to-do figures enjoying Cadbury’s pure cocoa.  Cadbury relies on the purity of their cocoa to set them above the rest as the best cocoa.  Some adds even ward against contaminating Cadbury cocoa with “foreign cocoa”.

Well dressed characters enjoying Cadbury cocoa

Around this same time period, we see many adds with young men being active, implying, or directly stating, that chocolate is a healthy choice that can help improve the strength of young men.

Sustains against fatigue. Increases muscular strength. Gives physical endurance and staying power.

At the very end of the 19th century (in 1897) Cadbury released their first milk chocolate bar (which was not very sucessful).  Now all of a sudden chocolate became a portable snack, and was marketed as such. This advertisement displays some of the places young women can take their chocolate: to the tennis courts, to the opera, on a motor ride, out golfing and more!

The new way to enjoy chocolate

All this while, Cadbury clung to their Quaker roots.  Cadbury was very concerned with the treatment of their employees.  The ethical approach to business gave Cadbury a competitive advantage over their rivals because their customers knew they were not being ripped off and that workers were being treated fairly by their employers.  Cadbury created a village for its employees where they would receive dental and medical care, clean and safe living conditions, education for children, and even exercise facilities.  Bournville began to feature in some of the advertisements as well.  This advert for Bournville cocoa depicts a young and playfully sweet bunny and girl sipping cocoa together.

In 1913 Cadbury wanted to show society that kind treatment of employees pays off in the end.  Cadbury promotes the village of Bournville and the positive public image affords customers a sense of trust in the nature and values of the Cadbury Company.

This 1926 Railway Poster emphasizes the balanced life of Bournville workers: pleasant work in a safe well kept facility supplemented with enjoyable leisure time.

In 1928, Cadbury began the “glass and a half” campaign.  This campaign advertised Cadbury’s Dairy Milk Chocolate as containing a glass and a half of milk in very half pound of chocolate.  Because milk was thought of as so nutritious this new method of advertising really appealed to the consumer’s sense of a healthy food.

A glass and a half of English full cream in every half pound!

In the 1920’s and 1930’s, we also see a lot of Cadbury advertisements depicting children or geared toward children.  Cadbury was selling chocolate as a sweet treat to brighten your day, and a good thing for all, especially children.

A happy smiling boy is depicted here with a large bar of Cadbury’s Dairy Milk Chocolate
“It’s an ill wind that blows nobody any good” – Children clamor for the delicious and “good” Cadbury Chocolates

We see the focus move away from children and toward the romanticization of chocolate a great deal in the 1950’s and early 1960’s.  Rather than marketing chocolate as a sweet to be enjoyed by children, Cadbury began to market chocolate as a gift to be exchanged between lovers, in particular, a gift to be given to young ladies by interested young men.  We see one very obvious example of this romanticization in this 1950’s Cadbury Roses add.

Say it with Roses Chocolate – A young suitor presumably knocks on the door of his intended with a bouquet of these “chocolate” roses

Cadbury also begins to advertise their products on TV during the 50’s.  This Cadbury Milk Tray advertisement from the early 60’s portrays the same romantic notion of chocolate as does the roses advert above.

Cadbury began a racier strand of advertisements with the introduction of a new product the “flake” chocolate bar in 1959.  Cadbury has a history of sensual advertisements containing the flake bar, but the difference between the depiction of Cadbury in this 1987 commercial for Flake and the original holistic virtuous depictions of Cadbury could not be more stark.

In recent years, some of Cadbury’s mort popular advertisements have included the Cadbury Gorilla advert:

and the eyebrow dance commercial:

both of which seem to have absolutely nothing to do with chocolate at all.

Works Cited:

“The History of Chocolate,” Cadbury. http://www.cadbury.co.uk/the-story

“It pays to treat employees like people,” Click Americana. http://clickamericana.com/eras/1910s/it-pays-to-treat-employees-like-people-1913

Oxlade, Andrew. “Cadbury: History of a Chocolate Giant,” Associated Newspapers Ltd. Sept. 8, 2009. http://www.thisismoney.co.uk/money/news/article-1680092/Cadbury-History-of-a-chocolate-giant.html

“Cadbury Milk Tray Chocolate,” Youtube. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QD6Z4QOCGGQ

Cadbury, Deborah. “Extract from Chocolate Wars,” Reader’s Digest. Apr. 4, 2012. http://www.readersdigest.com.au/Extract-chocolate-wars-april-2012

Jackson, Peter. “How did Quakers conquer the British sweet shop?” BBC News. Jan. 20, 2010. http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/8467833.stm

“In Pictures:Cadbury adverts,” BBC News. Jan. 19, 2010. http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/uk_news/magazine/8468317.stm

Macleod, Duncan. “Cadbury Flake Commercials,” The Inspiration Room. Mar. 7, 2010. http://theinspirationroom.com/daily/2010/cadbury-flake-commercials/

“Sweeties…” Flickr. http://www.flickr.com/photos/36844288@N00/sets/72157613529672933/detail/?page=3

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