The chocolate shell trembled in the fingers that held it. Nails picked at its yellow foil, peeling it back in hope. There was a giddy laugh.
This could be the one. The chances of finding the ticket were a million to one,... but this could be it.
If you had visions of Charlie Bucket cradling a Wonka Bar then congratulations! That’s precisely what Cadbury wanted you to think of. The modern “Golden Ticket” isn’t hidden in a Wonka Bar, however: it’s pressed in white chocolate and filled with fondant.
Cadbury’s White Creme Egg Hunt is back and it’s a viral phenomenon that would make even Willy Wonka himself proud.
But why has this one campaign been so successful and what you can learn from it? It’s time to take a closer look.
The White Creme Egg hunt has been a whirlwind success for Cadbury. The Facebook announcement that kicked off last year’s hunt got 30,000 likes and 53,000 comments within a week. Just a single post.
Within days it had become a sensation – gathering hundreds of newspaper column inches and widespread TV coverage. Millions of people watched YouTube videos claiming to have found a fabled White Egg and whole articles were devoted to ways of discovering them without taking off their wrappers.
No doubt Cadbury spent a lot of money on the campaign but its viral ripple repaid that money tenfold. But not every viral advertising campaign takes off – just ask the executives at Coors. So why has this one worked so well?
A huge part of its success has been Cadbury’s attention to three main elements:
- the Creme Egg brand
- the hunger for nostalgia and play
- the power of human curiosity.
Cadbury have spent decades marketing the Creme Egg as a playful, cheeky snack. For years they presented the eggs as something to destroy, pull apart and toy with. They put them in gleeful ads where the end point always seemed to be a gooey mess. “How do You Eat Yours?” was the brand’s rallying call for well over a decade. Eating one was a game.
With the Egg Hunt, you’re looking at an extension of that – it’s yet another game from a brand that has always been playful – ever since many of us were children.
And here’s where the second focus comes in: nostalgia. Treasure hunts are a nostalgic thrill. They’re what we did in playgrounds. Add in the parallels to a much-loved, very British children’s book and you’re almost guaranteed to put a smile on someone’s face. In a jaded, somewhat uncertain, world where there’s constant pressure to act like an “Adult”, regressing back to your childhood can be extremely attractive.
Make no mistake: this isn’t a campaign for kids. You have to be an adult to claim the prize. You have to be an adult to register on their website.
This is an adult’s game.
An adult’s game that appeals to our inner child, reinforcing the playfulness of their brand and entrenching our attachment to it.
Then there’s curiosity: what would happen if you found a white egg? Where are they? Do you take a picture and then eat it or hold onto it as a trophy? What does an egg that wins you £1000 taste like?
We all want to know.
And it’s not about the money: people spent thousands of pounds buying up eggs to find a white one – far more than they’d ever get back. It’s the exclusivity of the thing. There are only 350 white eggs in the whole of the UK,… and you could find one.
You could be Charlie Bucket in your very own Roald Dahl story.
The White Creme Egg Hunt shows us the value of building a brand and playing to its strengths. It shows how appealing to primal desires can take your brand viral. And it shows that you can never underestimate the power of people’s curiosity.
We’ve built many brands from a seed of playful invention – our work with Lancaster Brewery, for example, gave a quirky and unique edge to many of their drinks.
What could you do with yours?