Saturday, July 25, 2009

The Caramilk Secret, Still Wondering Campaign?

After numerous requests, this blog post looks at the current Canadian advertising campaign for Cadbury’s Caramilk chocolate bars which revives their Caramilk SECRET campaign from many years ago. “How do they get the caramel inside the Caramilk bar?” This is the light hearted theme of the 2009 Caramilk summer advertising campaign, STILL WONDERING, which picks up on a communications platform that has run intermittently for over 35 years.

The Caramilk SECRET campaign was made popular over the years, originating back to 1968, when the first Caramilk SECRET ad launched showing a person drilling a hole in the Caramilk chocolate bar prompting the question, “How do they get the Caramilk inside the Caramilk bar?” Probably one of the most famous TV spots was the Cannes and Clio award winning MONA LISA commercial from 1973 where the Mona Lisa smile was attributed to her secretly eating a piece of Caramilk chocolate while Leonardo da Vinci was trying to figure out the Caramilk secret.

After numerous ads over the years that followed the Caramilk SECRET platform, and a diversion over the last 5 years to focus on the eating experience, Caramilk had gone back to its roots and launched another SECRET campaign, STILL WONDERING, which begs the question, “How do they get the caramel inside the Caramilk bar?” This campaign is rather unusual in its whimsical approach and has been met with mixed reviews. Many people enjoy its eccentric qualities, while others have questioned, “What were they thinking?” Nonetheless, when one looks at the campaign in context of the light hearted approach of previous Caramilk SECRET campaigns and the type of humour used, it falls into place quite nicely. Of course, the issue that currently exists is that awareness levels of previous Caramilk SECRET campaigns remains relatively low after a lengthy hiatus. This issue will be remedied over time through consistent messaging and strong media weights which will give the campaign additional traction.

The STILL WONDERING campaign, created by Saatchi and Saatchi New York, includes TV spots, on-line components, print ads, a microsite, and audio boards on the Toronto subway system. At the end of June, 2009, 50 innovative interactive audio boards were put on the Toronto subway system allowing listeners to plug their earphones into various spots on a Caramilk STILL WONDERING ad to listen to an assortment of quirky voices, unusual accents, strange sounds, and foreign languages, all intentionally incoherent in their explanation on how the caramel gets inside the Caramilk bar. There are six selections on the ad (see above); a five year old boy, a Cockney man, a Xhosa tribesman, a whale, a fax machine, and a speed reader! These Caramilk STILL WONDERING audio options can also be seen and heard on videos posted on the campaign’s microsite at People that have listened to the audio transit ad seem rather amused, perhaps a little confused, but have nonetheless enjoyed it enough to spread the word to others, encouraging them to also listen to the ad.

The TV component of this campaign MODERN DANCE is currently playing at heavy weights, using an interpretive dance, a Cirque du Soleil type spoof, to explain the secret of how the caramel gets inside the Caramilk bar. Some have called the spot bizarre while others have enjoyed its quirkiness. MODERN DANCE is certainly unusual and uses a catchy sound track reminiscent of melodic, Peruvian folk music to engage viewers. The music track, called Cachapaya from the Swingle Singers, is originally from the British-South American band Incantation.

Below you can appreciate the Caramilk SECRET platform by listening to a short interview with Cadbury’s on their Caramilk brand and see segments of their original 1968 ad. You can also see the famous Mona Lisa ad from 1973, followed by two further spots in the SECRET platform. Their current STILL WONDERING campaign for Caramilk follows, including their interpretive MODERN DANCE spot and website executions for COCKNEY, XHOSA, and 5 YEAR OLD. The STILL WONDERING microsite is at By the way, Cadbury tell us the Caramilk secret is still safely under lock and key in their vault!

Cadbury Interview with Watch

Caramilk Mona Lisa Spot, 1973

Cadbury Caramilk Spot, 1986

Cadbury Caramilk Factory Spot

Cadbury Caramilk Modern Dance Spot, 2009

Cadbury Caramilk Secret Revealed in Cockney, 2009

Cadbury Caramilk Secret, Revealed in Xhosa, 2009

Cadbury Caramilk - 5 Year Old, 2009

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Anonymous said...

Saw the commercials online. Very cool!

Lauren said...

They are brining awareness to the products simplest characteristic that has been part of the chocolate bar for many years. And I think people fail to even think of where the caramel inside comes from, because it’s just a chocolate that we have enjoyed for decades. The that fact that they are exposing this through the many entertaining short commercials makes the consumer question where in fact it really does come from or how they in fact do get it in there. Now while many of us may not go in a store to specifically buy a chocolate bar, Those commercials leave a sense of curiosity and instill a thought in your head so while you may be standing in the line of a store and feel for a bar, I think the commercials have successfully positioned themselves to make you pick that product over the others. It’s not so much the chocolate bar rather the sense of how the caramel gets in there what really gets the consumers. By broadcasting the commercials consumers can visualize the taste of the chocolate while watching the commercial. Descriptive visuals often lead to purchasing especially with products that taste good but aren’t always that good for you

j_patraj said...

While I eat my Caramilk Bar (This is true!) It makes me ponder "How do they get the CARAMILK inside the CARAMILK BAR?" I have my own opinion, but I have no way in proving my theory correct. That is what makes this advertising campaign creative. It entices you to think about the product, especially when you pass it in a convenience aisle ....I just realized that Lauren expressed a similar opinion to the one I was just about to post. I just decided that I am going to make this post creative and abrasive, just like my personality.....
Anyhow, These ads have me arguing with other people that have different theories than I do on how Cadbury gets the CARAMILK inside th CaRAMILK BAR. We all know I do not just argue because I like to argue, I argue because I am usually right! I just finished a CARAMILK BAR while I argued with my friend on how they made it. She argued her theory while I argued that they got dancers to dance around the production line to make the magic happen, I also explained that the production employees speak Xhosa, Cockney and 5 year old. Come to think of it I bought the CARAMILK BARS just so I can argue with people...This Advertising Campaign works!!!!
My comment may be a little off topic, but I'm a little high on pain killers and Cadbury milk chocolate(I bought a bulk package of CARAMILK BARS after watching this campaign the first time....I'll save the last 2 bars for tomorrow)
(Side note - Word Verification Word is "curry"...hahaha...brings me to another important question..."Curry Chicken or Chicken Curry?)"

Lori Ellis said...

Has anyone seen the TV show "Unwrapped" on the Food Network? It is pretty clear to me how the they get the Caramel in the Caramilk bar (even if they don’t feature that specific bar on the show, who knows if they even would, I doubt that) It is still fun to wonder how exactly it happens.

I did enjoy the commercials that feature different people’s ideas or suggestions on how they got the caramel into the Caramilk bar, I even got a little excited when the commercial came out where the man was doing the press release and as soon as he was about to disclose the big secret, the sign fell on him leaving me still to wonder. I think these are the best Cadbury Caramilk commercials and they could go on with this campaign and I would not complain (just like how TELUS uses the same idea, the cute animals, but I don’t get sick of it because it’s cute, even though it’s the exact same commercial over and over) There are endless ideas and concepts Cadbury could go with.

As for the new ad with the interpretative dancing, the first time I saw it I kind of giggled because it reminded me of watching people interpretative dance on all those dancing competition shows and how ridiculous I thought it was (no offence to those who enjoy that style of dance) but afterwards I thought to myself, this commercial is pretty lame. I did not like it at all anymore.

I believe that Caramilk should run with their original idea and come up with funny new ads on different ways the caramel gets into the Cadbury Caramilk bar. I will continue to watch and I think that all the Cadbury consumers would be ok with it too.

Eli Joseph said...

I love this campaign for so many reasons. In my opinion the best quality of this campaign is that it spreads word of mouth and encourages discussion. when 2friends see a Caramilk commercial i bet the 1st thing they do is talk about how they think the caramel gets in the chocolate. I also I like that especially for a chocolate commercial, which just shows gooey flowing chocolate on the screen. What they are focusing on is the creation of the product.

I really enjoyed the ads for this campaign. The interpretive dance ad works so well , because it makes the viewer think they have just seen the secret revealed , but in actuality they have just seen something very strange that makes the answer even more mysterious. My absolute favourat commercial was the one that parodied "2001 A Space Odyssey". Stanley Kubrick is my absolute favourate film maker and in my opinion the best director of all time. this ad works so well because this movie has many hidden meanings and much of whats in the movie is mysterious and hidden. What Caramilk is then expressing is that they are among one of the greatest hidden secrets of all time. Also the computer in the ad ( HAL ) is shown to be reluctant to share the secret. This parodies a very famous scene in the movie as well as goes with the theme of how reluctant people are to share the almighty Caramilk secret.