The power of packaging: Cadbury’s Age UK ‘Donate your words’ campaign

Written by Riccardo Petrachi

Cadbury is a British multinational confectionery company and the second-largest confectionery brand in the world. Cadbury as a chocolate brand is popular for innovations and it is appreciated for implementing initiatives to raise awareness of social issues in the UK.

In September 2019, the company has launched a new campaign, ‘Donate your words’, in the UK focusing on old aged people. As a heritage company with a rich history of addressing social problems in Britain, Cadbury turned the focus of its philanthropy to tackling this issue with this campaign by partnering with Age UK to fight against loneliness among the elderly.

The campaign was implemented in response to a research carried out by Age UK which revealed that across the country around 1.4 million older people struggle with loneliness and, of that number, around 225,000 often spend a whole week without any social interaction (The Telegraph, 2019). The statistics also pointed out that nearly 2 million over-65s people speak to three or fewer people in a week and, of those claiming loneliness, more than a half are afraid of getting out (ETBrandEquity, 2019).

Having explored the impact of this issue, Cadbury then launched a limited-edition bar and for each bar sold, 30p was donated to Age UK to fund vital services and life support systems. As part of the campaign, to grab the public’s attention, Cadbury did something dramatic and decided to modify its packaging by removing all the words from the front of its iconic Dairy Milk bars, and used instead of its plain purple packaging with the image of one and a half glass of milk (Figure 1). Cadbury was able to remove all their normal print on their packages and still have people purchase the product. That means that Cadbury has invaluable distinctive assets such as their purple colour which alone is enough to tell buyers that it is Cadbury.

Figure 1. Cadbury's 'Donate your words' campaign

The packaging is distinctive and eye-catching, different from their usual pack, drawing attention on its simplicity. Removing the words from the design was considered a smart move for Cadbury. This is because when an established brand such as this plays with their existing logo, either by altering or removing anything, the impact on the brand image significantly increases.

The major impact of such decisions is that the audience notices and remembers those changes. Cadbury playing with its virtual assets such as the logo and colour and removing the word “Cadbury” from the packaging makes it de facto more noticeable on the market. Minimalizing the design makes the well-loved chocolate very attractive to the buyer. Minimising the information on packaging is actually a very popular and effective design choice, and as seen by this campaign can be very successful, simple yet so effective. It promotes an important message, attracts attention to the packaging of the chocolate bar and ultimately drives more sales of dairy milk for Cadbury.

To support the on-pack campaign, Cadbury worked with creative agency VCCP on a series of emotive adverts designed to raise awareness of the loneliness crisis facing older people. The chocolate brand has created a video ( for the campaign showcasing 3 case studies where people aged over 60 shared their difficulties and feelings and described their typical ‘lone’ day with the aim of encouraging people in the UK to reach out and engage with older people in their local communities.

The campaign’s message was powerful and was designed to draw attention and receive an emotional response from the audience to encourage action.

The reason behind Cadbury’s choice is that emotional content has a higher chance of going viral since people share and comment on things with emotional strings attached and the more shares the content gets the better. The audience also tends to connect more emotionally with an advert; thus, it has more effect and calls for action.

According to The Telegraph (2019), the reaction of the public has been positive with hundreds of thousands of people making gestures of kindness, from learning a neighbour’s name to ensure they hear a friendly ‘hello’ each morning, to children scheduling regular calls with an elderly relative, and others finding time to volunteer with Age UK.

Moreover, according to YouGov (2019), data show that the ‘Donate your words’ campaign released by Cadbury has received a positive response from the public for different reasons. Indeed, prior to the campaign launch, data suggested that it should have appealed to almost half of the British public who engage with brands that get involved in social issues. In addition to this, these data suggested that almost half of the population tends to donate to a charity when they believe in the cause or have personal experience with it, thus, implying that Cadbury’s emotional bond with consumers could encourage engagement with the campaign and support Age UK.

From the release of the campaign, YouGov’s brand tracking analysis showed that Cadbury’s buzz scores, a measure of the brand awareness, have significantly increased since the launch of the campaign among people aged over 60. From a national perspective, the scores registered a 2-point increase to 11 over the first two weeks of the campaign, with scores up 5.1 points to 8.9 among over-65s (YouGov, 2019).

The YouGov’s analysis also revealed a positive trend with regards to the awareness of Cadbury’s adverts which gained an 11% increase among the over-60s group, while nationally the brand’s attention scores rose by 3.7 points to 20.4 and the word of mouth exposure went up two points to 17.8 (YouGov, 2019).

These data reveal a boost in awareness for both Cadbury and Age UK and consumers not only noticed and discussed the advert, but their likelihood of purchasing Cadbury products increased by 4.6 points.

References & Bibliography

Degun, G. (2019). Cadbury removes words from Dairy Milk bar: Brand will donate 30p to Age UK for every limited-edition bar sold. Campaign. Available from (Accessed 4 April 2020).

Gupta, S. (2019). Cadbury does it again; this time urges everyone to provide support to the older generation. ETBrandEquity. Available from

(Accessed 4 April 2020).

Hinde, N. (2019). Cadbury removes words from Dairy Milk packaging for a very important cause: Will you “donate your words”, too?. Huffington Post. Available from (Accessed 4 April 2020).

The Telegraph (2020). Cadbury raises the bar on generosity. The Telegraph, 19 February. Available from (Accessed 4 April 2020).

Watson, I. (2019). Cadbury Dairy Milk and Age UK encourage kind gestures to solve old age loneliness. The Drum. Available from (Accessed 4 April 2020).

YouGov (2019). Cadbury removes words from packaging to highlight loneliness among the elderly. YouGov. Available from (Accessed 4 April 2020).

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