Case in Branding: ‘Cadbury Gems Re-positioning fails!’


Cadbury India Ltd, the part of Kraft food conglomerate began its operation way back in 1948 by importing chocolates. Today they are the unbeatable leader in the Indian chocolate market with some of the famous brands like Cadbury Dairy milk, 5 star, perk, celebrations, gems, halls and éclairs. They have always succeeded in conveying the right spirit to the audience with their ‘Always celebrating’ brand image which helped them to acquire 70% of the market share in India.

Re-positioning ‘Gems’ Brand

Cadbury which has many successful re-positioning stories like that of Cadbury Dairy Milk’s to its credit recently decided to re-position one of its brand, Gems. Cadbury with its new series of ads complimented with the tagline “Raho Umarless” (which can be roughly translated to “Be ageless”) seemingly targets adults for its gems brand which was once positioned mainly for kids only. But the inside market story tells that Cadbury this time has failed in their re-positioning exercise with Gems brand.

Re-positioning success since 1990’s

Cadbury’s started its re-positioning activities way back in  1990s when the brand felt the need for transition. The brand saw a large market opportunity among the adults in India who enjoyed having chocolates in privacy. They re-positioned themselves with a series of campaigns that was aired in TV and radio with an attempt to target adults. The ad that featured Omang kumar, where he drops the Cadbury eclairs from his hand, and swiftly popping into his mouth ensuring that no one is watching him was something unique and different which earned Cadburys new set of consumers- the youth and adults.

Cadbury again in 1997, with an attempt to capture the sweets market concentrated on adult market with series of its campaigns around various festivals featuring Amitabh Bachan and they continued their re-positioning success with their recent campaign “Kuch meeta ho jaye”.

Why re-positioning failed with Gems Brand

Cadbury after their successful up gradation of chocolate brands to adults, tried to do the same with their Gems brand. Whatever be the reason, increasing sales or market expansion, the move is indeed brave. However, the campaign “Raho Umarless” which features the adults being kiddish has failed to recreate the magic they have done for other chocolate brands.

One of the reasons for the failure of the re-positioning can be attributed to the concept of the campaign itself. The “Raho Umarless” ads unlike the other Cadbury ads failed to connect with the target consumers. This is because the ads for Cadbury chocolates showed adults behaving like adults which earned their empathy, while, Gems ads had shown adults behaving like kids which apparently did not register well with target consumers.  It might probably have made only the children laugh. However, it failed to win over the hearts of its target consumers.

Another reason to the failure is that the campaign could not provide any convincing reason as to why adults should buy Gems.  Elements like why should and when to buy as in Cadbury chocolate campaigns is missing in Gems campaign.

Going back to fundamentals

It looks like Cadbury’s has to go back to the basics and work out a re-positioning strategy for Gems from scratch. However, it would be really good for the company to ask themselves this fundamental question ‘do we need to re-position Gems brand?’.

[message_box title=”MESSAGE TITLE” color=”red”]The case is prepared based on secondary data and the purpose of this case study is to just bring out the key marketing strategies and techniques deployed by different firms from our perspective.[/message_box]


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