The Curious Case of Cadbury…

Consumer behaviour basically is a study of an individual or a group or an organisation collectively and the processes they use to select, evaluate, decide, analyse, use any product or service or experience or idea to help that satisfy their needs and the impact the product or the brand has on a consumers’ mind and society as a whole.

Cadbury.jpgCadbury, an Indian FMCG company is a world recognised brand and has been one of the best brands globally.  Even after completion of more than 100 years, the brand is into hearts of many people & it also leaves a significant mark amidst all the competition. Since the incorporation of Cadbury in India in 1948, it had a complete joy ride and enjoyed a great market share in its home country. Cadbury’s flagship brand Cadbury Dairy Milk is considered the   “gold standard” for chocolates in India. The pure taste of Cadbury dairy milk defines the chocolate taste for the Indian Consumer.



It was all good and glory for this company till something terrible and drastic happened in 2003. In 2003, many customers complained of finding a worm in their Cadbury chocolates. All the goodwill and brand value built for over 50 years came crashing down because of this incident. The sales of Cadbury declined sharply by 30% during festive season and also Cadbury’s advertisements went off air for month and half. This company was completely stuck in a predicament situation and consumer behaviour towards Cadburys’ other products also changed.





Cadbury had lost the trust and confidence in consumers and consumers easily switched to other competitors then. However, Cadbury were quick to react and took the recovery route head on.

Realising that their loyal consumers too had started behaving indifferent to their brand and they too switched to their competitors. Getting back consumers’ trust was a major challenge for them and how effectively and amazingly they launched a campaign for rebuilding their goodwill in the market. Cadbury was losing on its sales and also reputation was being hampered. So, recovering from this type of situation was a challenge for Cadbury. In the month of October only Cadbury launched Public Relations (PR) campaign ‘Vishwas’ which was an education initiative covering 190,000 retailers in key states.

Cadbury also made some changes in packaging which created a feeling of safety within the consumers. Cadbury invested upto 15 crore on new machinery which, was used for the new packaging of the chocolate (a new metallic polyflow cover), but still dint hike the price of the chocolates.

And then Just after changing packaging Cadbury roped in Mr. Amitabh Bachchan, the Indian superstar and a role model of the country as a brand ambassador. From the month January to March 2004, Cadbury came up with a strong Ad campaign which helped them to get back the consumer confidence. During this period Advertising expenses went up by 15% but it really helped Cadbury to get back its reputation. Cadbury leveraged on Mr. Amitabh Bachchan’s goodwill in the Indian country and how greatly it helped Cadbury in regaining the market share. The advertisement had an emotional feel to it, informing people about the new packing and safety measures taken by the brand.



Roping in Mr. Amitabh Bachchan was a strategic masterstroke as again consumers started believing in the brand and started consuming their products. Brand ambassadors have played a major role in defining the company or the brand. It has either helped the brand to build itself or it has taken the brand to the ground. It has not always been necessary for brands to have brand ambassadors to increase the visibility of their product or service, but a brand ambassador with goodwill definitely helps.


_69571892_triangles_464Maslow’s Hierarchy of needs is a theory which tells us what motivates a consumer to be satisfied, belonged or valued. It has 5 stages of needs, Self-actualization being at the top being the biggest motivator to feel accepted followed by Esteem needs, Social Needs, Safety needs and last being the Physiological needs. In the case of Cadbury, one of the basic need that is safety is been fulfilled over here which is very important for a consumer to make buying decision. Chocolates have always being a sign of love and friendship. Cadbury has special celebration boxes for cultural festivals and events which bring people together and arise a feeling of love and belongingness which fulfils the Social Needs of the consumers too.





A brand as big as apple has yet not had any celebrity brand ambassador to influence their target audience to buy their products and still they are the market leaders in their category. It is an irony that a brand ambassador can help a brand like Cadbury to again recreate all the lost goodwill and change consumers’ behaviour towards their brand completely. It is imperative for every brand to study consumer behaviour of their targeted audience and frame their policies and strategies accordingly.



CadburyIndia. (2012). Business maps india. Retrieved from business.mapsofindia:

International, M. (n.d.). Mondelez International. Retrieved 2011, from

mehta, R. (2013). Cadbury’s Amitabh Bachchan Campaign . Retrieved from Youtube:

Molshree Vaid. (2006). How Cadbury’s won the battle of worms. Retrieved from Rediff india abroad:

TNN. (2012). Cadbury unveils ‘Project Vishwas’. Retrieved from The economic times:





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