Cadbury Give Us An Anniversary Treat


Yours for 200 Years


Cadbury’s “Glass And A Half In Everyone” campaign with VCCP has been one of the most successful we’ve ever seen. It regularly scores 5-Star Ratings on our Test Your Ad Platform with a quietly groundbreaking slice-of-life aesthetic (no background music; ordinary locations and people; simple stories) that makes a Cadbury ad feel utterly distinctive.

Something Cadbury don’t go in for much is special effects. Even the lighting in a typical “Glass And A Half” ad feels very naturalistic, and there’s no camera trickery or magical elements to distract from the emotion. So their new time-spanning ad, “Yours For 200 Years”, created by VCCP for the brand’s bicentenary, feels like quite a departure – while at the same time staying rooted in that distinctive aesthetic.

“Yours For 200 Years” nods to the past in two different ways. First and most obviously, it’s a remake of an older ad – “Mum’s Birthday”, the debut ad in VCCP’s campaign from 2018. “Mum’s Birthday” is a good pick for a remake – the story of a little girl buying her Mum a chocolate bar even though she has only pocket change and toys to pay with, and a kindly shopkeeper who helps her. It scored a maximum 5.9-Stars on Test Your Ad and it’s widely regarded as a modern classic.

The second way “Yours For 200 Years” calls back to the past is more subtle. The remake constantly shifts its time period, starting off in an 1820s world of bonnets, cobbled streets and horses and carts and gradually bringing us into the 21st Century. Cadbury’s ad isn’t the first to jump through time – several brands with big anniversaries to celebrate have done the same. But the brilliance of the execution is in how the ad does this while still presenting a continuous story – it’s so seamless you might not notice what’s going on until halfway through, allowing for plenty of repeat watching to catch all the details. For instance, how the Mum outside the shop is seen in 3 different models of phone box before finally being seen on her mobile. Or how the shopkeeper switches from a 40s pullover to a groovy 70s open-neck shirt during one camera cutaway.

It’s gloriously well done. And viewers agree – like its original, “Yours For 200 Years” lands a maximum 5.9-Star Rating on Test Your Ad, setting down a marker for excellence in 2024 which will be tough to beat. The ad is a triple-winner, in fact, also getting Exceptional scores in short-term Spike Rating and in Brand Fluency.

But what makes this trip through time so effective, and why doesn’t the time-travel gimmick distract from the emotion? Readers of Orlando Wood’s Lemon and Look Out will know the answer. A strong sense of place and time is one of the elements in an ad which grabs the “broad-beam” attention of the right-hand side of the brain, which attends to context and the relationships between people. So ads set in a recognisable past often do very well – even if, as here, that past is smoothly shifting into the present. It’s an element that goes very well with another right-brained aspect of the ad, the strong sense of communication and ‘between-ness’ between the shopkeeper and his young customer. The more focused left-hand side of the brain isn’t neglected, though, with several very prominent close ups on Dairy Milk bars (in their historically accurate packaging, of course!) meaning the ad is well-branded and good at sales activation as well as brand-building.

In other words, it’s a masterpiece of an ad which does everything a commercial needs to be effective in the long and the short term. 2024 is off to an exceptional start.

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