Have Cadbury’s Made The Best Ad Of 2023… In January?

Cadbury Dairy Milk



A bloke. A cashier. An all-night garage. It could be any night, anywhere in Britain. The most ordinary location and the most everyday transaction imaginable. How could any advertiser turn this mundane scene into something so joyously emotional it lands 5.0-Stars?

Just ask Cadbury, whose “Garage” ad makes this unlikely feat seem easy. Last year the “Glass And A Half” campaign with VCCP won the IPA Effectiveness Grand Prix and this new ad is one of the finest entries yet. In an age of blaring, bouncing, overstuffed ads “Garage” has no music and barely any dialogue. Oh, and it doesn’t mention the brand or product once. It simply uses its short time to tell a beautifully human story with the product as its hero and a great heart-warming twist (we won’t spoil it – go watch it for yourself!)

The results speak for themselves – the ad does the ‘Test Your Ad triple’, with Exceptional scores not just in long-term Star Rating but in short-term Spike and Brand Fluency too. Like several of the “Glass and a Half” ads there’s a little bit of sadness in the mix early on but the ad flips it successfully and leaves the audience delighted.

We’ve written a lot about what makes the Cadbury campaign so distinctive and successful. If you’ve read Orlando Wood’s Look Out and Lemon you’ll know about the importance of “between-ness” in ads – human dialogue, connection and non-verbal communication. Between-ness helps engage the right side of your brain, which notices relationships between things and which is associated with more effective, attention getting advertising.

The “Glass And A Half” ads go all in on between-ness. They strip out every other element to focus tightly on human connection and the joy it brings, with a gift of Dairy Milk usually the way people express that connection.

Removing all the razzle-dazzle of advertising – the jingles, the background music, the surreal and fantastic effects – means Cadbury slices of life feel real and intimate in a way most ads just don’t. They usually leave out mentions of the actual brand – in “Garage” the man just asks for “one of those” – which also helps the realism. All to make the emotional twist in the tale hit harder.

No brand right now – and maybe no brand ever – is better than Cadbury at finding the magic in the ordinary. “Glass And A Half” is one of the all-time great campaigns, and “Garage” confirms it.

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