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Flake Assignment

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Word Count: 3226


Introduction                                                                                3

History of Cadbury’s Flake and its Advertising                                        3-4

Cadbury’s Flake Market Position                                                        4

The problem that Cadbury’s Flake needed to overcome                                4-6

Cadbury’s Flake Objectives and Strategy                                                6-7                                                                 

The alternative campaign                                                                  7                                                                                

Pre and Post Testing                                                                        8

Testing and research methods used                                                         8-13

Conclusion                                                                                13

References                                                                                14

Appendix 1

Cadbury's Flake: An Alternative Campaign


This assignment will examine a flake case study focused on The Alternative Campaign, which ran in 1981.

History of flake and its advertising

Flake originally launched in 1920 and is celebrating a history of 88 years.

Flake was invented thanks to a Cadbury employee. When the employee was filling the moulds he noticed that once they were full, the excess chocolate spilled over the edge and folded down in a stream of chocolate. The texture had many thin layers of chocolate and was very crumbly and flakey – and so the Flake was born.

Ironic Advertising

The Flake Girl adverts are among the most memorable of all time. The early ads in the 1950s and 60s were in black and white, and had the slogan “Sixpence worth of Heaven.” At the time they were considered the sexist sights on TV.

Flake Jingle

…Only the crumbliest, flakiest chocolate, tastes like chocolate never tasted before….

The flake jingle has stood the test of time unlike many other advertising slogans and songs.

Various session singers have sung it over the years, with the exception of Flake’s 30th anniversary advert, when singer Kirsty Hawkshaw was commissioned to perform the jingle, for the new Flake TV campaign, Joss Stone was involved.

It has won much praise over the years and has recently been voted the 3rd most popular jingle of all time.  

The Flake Girl Advert

The product gained some attention for its highly sensual advertising. In the UK, the adverts showed people - almost always women - enjoying a Flake whilst relaxing.

The Flake Girl became famous as a symbol of indulgence and secret pleasure. The emphasis was an emotional jingle ("Only the crumbliest, flakiest chocolate, tastes like chocolate never tasted before"), and a women allowing herself a guilt-free luxury. However, many saw in the delicacy with which she nibbled the crumbly chocolate bar, more than a hint of sexual pleasure. That, of course, was why it was so successful.

In the 1970s, the advert was taken off air following complaints about the suggestive manner in which the woman bit into the bar.

In 1999, a tribute commercial to the Flake Girls of decades past was released, much to the delight of nostalgic fans. The advert showed clips of various adverts from the past which included a clip of a girl relaxing in a rowing boat whilst being pestered by a cheeky swan for a peck of her Flake bar and many others.

Below is a series of clips from the tribute flake girl commercial.  




The Flake girl was finally killed-off after 40 years, in 2004. However, in 2005 she was found to have a 19% recall in the UK population, leading to a revival in 2007. The new advert featured a model eating a Flake in a convertible during a shower of rain.

UK singer Joss Stone is the new Flake girl of 2008 - the first non-model to promote the product. In the commercial she is seen breaking off a small piece of Flake before popping it into her mouth and brushing the crumbs off her blouse while softly singing the Flake theme song.


Flake’s Market Position

Cadburys Flake is one of Cadburys key brands in the confectionary market. It is positioned in the countline sector of the market.

The market is dominated by three major confectionary manufacturers, which are Cadburys, Mars and Rowntree.  





























Source: Nielsen

Table 1 shows the market share of the three major confectionary manufacturers from 1976 –1981. It’s clear to see from the table that Mars has the highest market share in this period over the other two brands. Although Mars has the higher share Cadburys have made steady improvement over the years compared to the other two brands.

The Problem that Cadbury’s Flake needed to overcome

The Cadbury’s Flake brand had grown steadily over the years until 1977 when the total countline market went into decline. The market decline was a 7% drop in volume but for Flake the volume decline was 13%. Some of this decline could be explained by the brand offering less value to the consumer because of a weight decrease in 1976 but this was not felt to be the only important factor to explain this downward movement.

There was obviously a need to discover why a previously buoyant brand should show such serious volume decline. Consumer attitudes to the brand and their current usage were examined in order to understand more about buying behaviour and to look for opportunities to arrest the volume decline and increase sales.

A usage and attitude study was carried out in December 1977 and one of the most useful findings was defining the profile of buyers in terms of the frequency of purchase.



% Buyers

2 or 3 times a week or more often


Once a week


Once a fortnight


Once a month


Every 23 months


Less often/don't know


Cadburys were encouraged that 22% of Flake buyers were buying more than once a week. Also, because of the collection of purchasing habits in this market the 54% claiming to buy once a week or once a fortnight were committed to the brand and could be classed as medium to heavy purchasers who were probably unlikely to increase their purchasing significantly. However Cadburys still had 23% of their buyers who bought once a month or less often. These were classed as light buyers.

Non-users and lapsed users of the brand were also included in the research study to find out why they were not buying.

The reasons non-users gave for not buying the product fell into two categories. 32% said that the Cadburys Flake was too messy/crumbly and 18% had a dislike to chocolate.

The two reasons that the non-purchases gave to not buying the product were partly the reason of purchase by our heavy and medium users. Cadburys therefore concluded that it would be undesirable to change the actual product to satisfy this small group of consumers because they would risk losing their committed buyers.

Cadburys then needed to see why their lapsed users had stopped buying the brand. Research showed that 37% said that Flake was too messy/crumbly and 23% said they preferred other bars.

The reason for purchasing other bars was then examined. The results showed that 99% showed that they were better for sharing 30% said they were more filling and 34% said they were less messy.

Cadburys came to the conclusion that Flake was clearly not a brand for sharing but as an individual self-indulgent treat. Again it was decided that it would be unlikely that they could turn these consumers back into Flake buyers.

After looking at the research it was then concluded that the best way of stopping Flakes decline and increase sales was to persuade their light users to buy the brand more frequently.

Flake’s Objectives and Strategy

Flake's brand strategy and advertising style had remained virtually unchanged since the early 1960s when it was first developed.

The advertising objectives were:

  1. To reinforce existing perceptions of Flake as a unique eating experience
  2. To sustain the distinctive identity of Flake

Competitive positioning:The milk chocolate bar with the unique texture.

Consumer proposition:Eating a Cadbury's Flake is such a uniquely delicious experience, you feel carried away to another world where everyday cares don't exist.

The Flake advertising was escapist, feminine and self-indulgent. It was aimed at 25- to 44-year-old women who were the heaviest users of Flake.

The question had to be asked whether this advertising style was suitable for the task they had set themselves of increasing purchase amongst their light users who had no specific sex or age bias. Eventually it was decided that an alternative advertising campaign should be developed to achieve these difficult objectives.

Development of the Alternative Strategy

Given that one of Flake's main strengths was its unique texture it was decided that the competitive positioning should remain the same, 'The milk chocolate bar with the unique texture'. It was from this product-based positioning that the creative strategy evolved.

From existing qualitative research Cadbury’s knew that the unique crumbly texture of Flake meant that the consumers developed their own method of eating a Flake in order to enjoy all the delicious crumbs of chocolate. Cadbury’s also knew that for some people, particularly light users, this crumbliness was seen as a negative, and although they enjoyed the product they found the mess off-putting and therefore they did not eat the brand as often as they might otherwise have done.

As mentioned before, crumbliness was the key product benefit for the heavy users so they decided that to motivate light users to by the brand more they had to acknowledge the crumbliness by turning the negative side of it, the mess, into a positive. They then arrived at a consumer proposition of-. 'Every little piece of Flake is sheer enjoyment, so take care not to miss a morsel'.

The advertising objectives were defined as:

  1. To dramatise single-mindedly the unique oral satisfaction of the brand
  2. To position Flake clearly as a brand enjoyed by a wide range of people

The Alternative Campaign

The proposition for the Cadbury’s Flake advert 'every little piece of Flake is sheer enjoyment' and the idea of having to develop an art of eating the product were merged into a series of cameos. These showed a cross-section of people, as opposed to the archetypal Flake girl, capturing the last crumbs from a bar of Flake by various means tipping back a chair, using a paper plate and sucking up the last crumbs through a straw.

The finished Cadbury’s Flake film called 'Secretary' was researched among consumers using qualitative techniques for example focus groups.(Qualitative research is a set of research techniques, used in marketing, in which data is obtained from a relatively small group of respondents and not analyzed with statistical techniques). It performed very well among heavy, medium, light and lapsed users of Flake. It was obvious for Cadbury’s, however, that the decision about whether to replace a campaign which has run successfully for 20 years with one which had yet to prove itself was not going to be an easy one to make. A full research programme was needed in order to monitor the test for at least 18 months to check that they had met all their objectives set for the test, for example increased volume and higher frequency of purchase among light users, without pushing away current heavy users.

Pre and Post Testing


Pre-testing is a form of customized research that predicts in-market performance of an ad, before it airs. It analyses audience levels of attention, brand linkage, motivation, entertainment, and communication, as well as breaking down the ad’s Flow of Attention and Flow of Emotion. Pre-testing is also used to identify weak spots within an ad to improve performance, to select images from the spot to use in an integrated campaign’s print ad, to pull out the key moments for use in ad tracking, and to identify branding moments.


Post-testing/Ad tracking studies can be customized or syndicated. Tracking studies provide either periodic or continuous in-market research monitoring a brand’s performance, including brand awareness, brand preference, product usage and attitudes. Advertising tracking can be done by telephone interviews or online interviews with the two approaches producing fundamentally different measures of consumer memories of advertising, recall versus recognition.


Testing and research methods used

Test 1

Area choice: test and control

In order to test the effectiveness of there advertising campaigns Cadbury’s decided to run two different ones. In Lancashire and Yorkshire they ran the Secretary advertising campaign and in the rest of the Country they ran the Schooner campaign.  By doing this it then enabled them to analyse whether market sales had risen in Lancashire and Yorkshire (approximately 25 per cent of the country) compared to the results against the rest of the Country (approximately 75 per cent).

Lancashire and Yorkshire were eventually chosen for the test area mainly because they provided an area, which could be separately monitored in terms of ex-factory by depot sales.

It was decided that London and Southern were going to be excluded as potential areas because a media test had been conducted in those areas during 1978 and the back data would not be comparable.

Films used: test and control

The alternative advert the 'Secretary' was used in Lancashire and Yorkshire (test area) and was first aired on 6 November 1978. The current mainstream film 'Schooner' continued to run in the rest of the country (control area.) They did not feel that the particular mainstream film used would affect the test results since in essence the Flake films were seen as one campaign. They all featured the same sort of girl, outside and alone, eating a Flake, with the familiar Flake theme tune.

Research tools

Cadbury’s had to prove that the new strategy and execution would meet all the objectives set for the test, to do this they used a range of research methods.

AMTES (Area Marketing Test Evaluation)

The Area Marketing Test Evaluation System (AMTES) combines regional testing with econometric evaluation this was developed by Beecham now Glaxo Smith Kline and had been used successfully for a number of years.

The system is capable of taking into account differences between areas in pricing, distribution and competitive activity. It predicts sales in the test area versus control and this prediction can then be compared with the actual sales achieved.

PPI (Personal Purchase Index)

A group of 10,000 individuals were recruited and formed a diary panel where Cadburys observed penetration levels and repeat purchase rates in the two areas Test and Control.  The time period used was 26 weeks ending February 1979 versus 26 weeks ending February 1980

Tracking Study’s

Cadbury’s interviewed 100 confectionery eaters every week in the period October 1977 onwards. The objective was to provide a continuous monitor of brand awareness, advertising awareness, campaign recall and brand image.

An ad hoc pre and post study among eaters of chocolate was also conducted Period Pre-week commencing 30 October 1978. Post-week commencing 21 April 1980.

The objective was to check recall and communication of the two campaigns among heavy and light users of Flake.

Test Results

AMTES results:

By using AMTES over an 18-month period it showed that the effect of the test had increased sales by between 11 and 20 per cent.  Although had the test not been run it could also be seen that an increase of 16 percent in unit sales may have been achieved. Cadbury’s were 99.9 percent positive that running this campaign would increase sales.

PPI results:

A higher penetration was achieved in the test area. This meant that more buyers had been attracted to the brand.

From looking at the table below it shows that in the test area buying was more frequent and that a percentage increase occurred in February 1980 compared to a percentage reduction in the control area in February 1980.  Therefore one could assume that the advertising campaign was achieving the desired results.




26 weeks ending

26 weeks ending

Feb 1979

Feb 1980

Feb 1979

Feb 1980





Bought once





Bought twice





Bought once a fortnight

or more often





Test area 26.4%
Control area 21.6%

The Test area also revealed an increased in male purchasers buying the brand but that in the control area it remained unchanged as can been seen in Table 5 below:




26 weeks ending

26 weeks ending

Feb 1979

Feb 1980

Feb 1979

Feb 1980















Males were now accounting for 31% of Flakes purchased in the test area.

Tracking study results:

From the tracking studies Caburys were able to assemble data from the sample group and this is the findings:

Spontaneous awareness of Flake was at a similar level in both areas at about 25%. Although advertising recall was generally declining, which was mainly attributed to reduced advertising spend in both areas over recent years.

Recollection of advertising, that is based on those claiming to recall advertising for Flake who correctly recalled the advertisement, was much higher in the test area than in the control area: Test area 90%, Control area 75%.

The only major difference in the image of Flake between test and control was that it 'would appeal more to women than men' in that the control area response was much higher than the test area.

However purchasers of Flake in both areas equally regarded it as a treat and fun to eat.

It was concluded from the above that the crucial area of image had not shifted Flake's traditional image built up over 20 years. They are aware of course that it would probably take a long time to see any major shifts in image.

CRL results:

These were used to complement the tracking study and, unlike it, provided measures at only two points in time.

It’s clear to see that there is an increase in advertising awareness in the test area compared to the control area:





Test area






The 'Secretary' advertisement was centred round the art of eating a Flake in a positive way. Even among light users it was not felt that the film emphasised the messy aspects of eating the bar.

Cadburys could therefore see that the campaign in Lancashire and Yorkshire was performing very well and had achieved its objectives of increasing the brand volume and slowing a sales decline. It had also attracted more male buyers to the brand, which had thus increased the frequency of purchase.

They therefore decided to continue the test in Lancashire and Yorkshire but to extend the test into the London television area thereby measuring the long-term effectiveness of the campaign and the reactions of Southerners whom they knew were more bothered and more aware of the messiness of Flake.

Test 2

In January 1981 Cadbury’s decided to extend 'Secretary' into London and retained he original test area of Lancashire and Yorkshire. A new mainstream film 'Gypsy Caravan' was run in the control areas. The objectives of this extension of the original test were:

  1. To continue to monitor Lancashire and Yorkshire in order to evaluate the longer-term effects
  2. To evaluate the short-term effect in a Southern area, ie London
  3. To continue to evaluate the rest of the country as a control area

Similar research methods were used as in the original test.


London, short-term

AMTES test results showed an increase in sales of 23 per cent, this was an identical test to the one carried out in Lancashire and Yorkshire.

PPI Results

From these results Cadburys can see that sales increase were the result of new buyers entering the market.  The results can be seen from Table 6 that before the test sales in London sales were only 14.6 per cent but after the test rose to 18.5 per cent an increase of 3.9 per cent.


Pre test

Post test






Rest of the country

(excluding Lancs/Yorks)



One worrying problem that Cadbury’s did incur was that whilst test sales rose among the new purchasers who were younger people, Cadburys older users of the brand were now buying less and some were disappearing out of the market altogether.

Lancashire/Yorkshire, long-term

AMTES results:

The original AMTES data was remodelled and it was found that over the longer-term time period the copy test now accounted for a 17% unit sales increase.

PPI results:

These results showed that no movement had been made into other markets (i.e. age, gender etc) but the Lancashire and Yorkshire had the highest repeat buyers for the brand.





(excludes London)











Lancashire and Yorkshire similarly to London now has the youngest brand profile but it also appeared that here too (Lancashire and Yorkshire) 25-44 year old females were dropping out, this was only evident in the test areas but for the rest of the country remained unchanged.

Based on Nielsen data, in the 12 months ending April 1981, Flake's combined brand share by area in the countline market was:





Rest of country



Through Cadbury’s creating the alternative campaign they managed to obtain an increase in sales and encouraged the lighter users to buy more frequently, whilst unfortunately causing some heavy and frequent buyers of Flake to drop out of the brand and to become less frequent buyers.

For their sample of where to advertise the campaign Cadburys choose Yorkshire and Lancaster, as it would be easy to separately monitor in terms of sales. One of the objectives that were chosen for carrying out the campaign was to increase the use of lighter users of the brand, which was successfully achieved.

However it may have been more appropriate to use sales data from other areas of the Country where light users were not frequent, running the campaign and thereby increasing light user sales in these areas.

After conducting the second test it was evident that new younger consumers were entering the market but that they were loosing some of their heaviest buyers - 25-44 year old females. Further research could have been undertaken in the test area to see why this was happening although sales were increasing with younger buyers entering the market it would be vital for Cadbury’s to understand why the usual heavier buyers were dropping out and leaving.  As in the control area these customers were still considered heavy buyers. This could help them in the future when conducting further campaigns.  

Cadbury’s could also see from research that the reason some of the consumers were not purchasing Flake and choosing an alternative was due to the fact they found it too messy. In the campaign “The Secretary” which ran in the test area consumers felt that the film didn’t emphasise the messy aspects of eating the bar even though the communication of 'Secretary' was centred round the art of eating a Flake in a positive way.

Feedback from consumers revealed that the advert did not show how to eat Flake without making a mess.  Perhaps Cadbury’s could have adapted the advert to show the nicer parts of the messy aspects of eating the bar and how to overcome them.  Although in all Cadbury adverts it is advertised as the crumbliest, flakiest chocolate maybe a fun factor needs to be looked at which could result in attracting a totally new entrant into the market.


http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Advertising_Research 23/11/08

http://www.cadburyflake.co.uk/defaultUK.aspx#flake+flake_history 20/11/08

http://www.cadburyflake.co.uk/defaultUK.aspx#tv_ad 20/11/08

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Flake_(chocolate) 22/11/08

http://www.cadbury.co.uk/EN/CTB2003/product_info/flake_products.htm 23/11/08

Methods of pre-testing advertising: a review and a new approach
Dr Robert East, International Journal of Advertising, Vol. 3, No. 4, 1984

The Marketing Book

By Michael John Baker

Marketing Communications

By Paul Russell Smith, Jonathan Taylor

Measuring Advertising Effectiveness

By William D. Wells

Cadbury's Flake: An Alternative Campaign

Pamela Vick and Mo Fisher,
Institute of Practitioners in Advertising,
IPA Effectiveness Awards, 1982

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