The butler did it in the Bournville ad, but Indians aren’t quite biting
‘You don't just buy a Bournville; you earn it.’ This is the positioning Cadbury’s has been using in India to market its premium bitter dark choc called Bournville. Here’s my theory behind this rather uppity proposition: One, the market for bitter chocs in India is very small. We like them nice and milky. Two, Bournville is pretty expensive. So one can easily presume a positioning strategy was needed that gives the chocolate a super premium image. The ‘not-for-everyone’ sort of an aura. In that context, the ‘earning it’ message is pretty sound.
Last year, they released the launch advert which featured a reporter at a Brit countryside. He consumes Bournville without earning it first, and is immediately whisked away by a flying dragon. That commercial was pretty funny. The mythical dragon provided a neat twist, and the sequence of the kidnapping of a reporter was not just amusing, but very timely too. One wished all those bumbling, fumbling TV reporters parked outside the Taj during the 26/11 attacks had met with the same fate!
In contrast, the new commercial is pretty dull. The TVC, set in an English castle, features a propah angrezi butler called James. It’s quickly established that this twit isn’t known for appreciating fine things in life, and is often pulled up by his master for clumsiness. The angry butler mimics his boss and intentionally spills tea on the carpet. And does more such damage out of angst. Finally, he mocks a slab of Bournville as well, and contemptuously grabs a bite from it. As ‘retribution’, a piano falls on his head. The voice-over admonishes: ‘James, you don't just buy a Bournville, you earn it.’
Totally unfunny and boring. And the piano dropping on the poor butler’s head is too trite and forced a twist to even discuss. This is where the ad has gone wrong: This sort of a PG Wodehouse-ian, if you like, humour may work in the UK, but will fall flat with our audiences. While the promise of earning the Bournville is all very well, and so is the usage of an English setting to create the rich aura, the story has to be told keeping our desi sensibility in mind. Which is why the flying dragon worked, but the disgruntled butler fails.
The same reason why an Avatar rocks in India but Woody Allen flicks don’t.
Net-net: A total waste of big money (reportedly the film crew flew all the way to Sweden to shoot this travesty!). And it’s back to the drawing board. The client should drop a bombshell on the agency creative director’s head. And tell the gent: You gotta earn your money, mate.