Why the drumming gorilla ad was a huge success for Cadbury? Here are some of the reasons I think it worked so well.


1: Unexpectedness

Most people expect brands to prominently display their logo, and make what they are selling front and centre.

Cadbury’s did not.

Instead they used a gorilla playing the drums to Phil Collins. This went on for a full 90 seconds, without a mention of chocolate. In the initial cuts of the advert, there were no product shots at all.

It was unexpected, and it was one of their most successful campaigns, winning a number of awards, including the Film Grand Prix Lion at Cannes Lions in 2008 and was credited with pushing sales up 7%. In the first week, the advert was shared half a million times on YouTube. And that was just the beginning.

2: Intrigue

The advert made people figure out who and what the advert was for themselves for 90 seconds. And they did. From a couple of significant clues.
The glass and a half productions title.
The purple colour of the backdrop.
In making the audience guess the brand as they watched, they were making people acknowledge how iconic Cadburys brand is, and re-engage with it.

And those who did not figure it out, or see the end screen were intrigued enough to find out. They asked, and found out from others who did, and as we all know, we like nothing more than a riddle than solving it and letting people know! It is social currency.

3: Mass appeal

The adverts targeted both adults and children. The hook for adults is the association with the music, and their nostalgia for the period. The nostalgia of the music, brings back time and life experiences that is blurred with nostalgia for the brand and its sweet memories.

The hook for children is a 1000 pound guerrilla playing a mean drum set. You could argue that this is a pretty compelling viewing for all ages. It is a visual that sticks.

If there is something worth sharing, it will something like this.


What can we learn from this campaign?

In a world of distractions, marketers need to go beyond the obvious to grab people’s attention. As business owners and experts in our respective fields, we naturally feel the need to share our intimate knowledge of our product or service. The fact is that few are interested in the technicalities, they are interested in what’s in it for them. Clearly few companies have the brand recognition Cadburys do, however, all of us have the opportunity to think outside the box when it comes to advertising. Perhaps it will even lead to our own viral success story.

Cadburys, and more specifically the agency Fallon London, elevated this advert above the competition by using an unexpected approach that not only raised sales, but changed perceptions of the Cadbury brand.