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Gorilla ad works its magic on sales of Cadbury bars

LONDON - It is the debate that has been raging in the industry since the Cadbury Gorilla first hit his drums -- great ad, but will it shift chocolate bars?

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The answer appears to be yes, with Cadbury Schweppes reporting revenue growth of 5% during 2007 in its final results today.

The Cadbury "gorilla" spot, created by Fallon London, has been the success story of 2007 -- an entertaining spot that appeals to a huge audience, and which has viewers clamouring for more.

Sky reported that, in the space of a fortnight, 58,000 households took time out of their busy days to watch a long-form version of the ad using their red button, and if parody is the next sincerest form of flattery, it is clearly a winner.

In its results release, the company said: "In chocolate, revenues in the second half benefited from the successful relaunch of Wispa and our new advertising campaign for Cadbury Dairy Milk."

However, it also trumpeted the success of its first foray into chewing gum, with the launch a brand called Trident -- one that came with an ad campaign that was somewhat less loved than the Cadbury Gorilla.

In fact, the "mastication for the nation" campaign drew more than 500 complaints about its stereotyped portrayal of Caribbean people, and was subsequently banned for being racist and offensive.

Yet Cadbury's gum business has taken a 10% share of the market in its first year of operation.
Furthermore, Cadbury said that although sales of chocolate were up, profit margins were lower compared with last year, which it is attributing largely to the media spend on Cadbury Dairy Milk in the UK.

Which brings us back to the debate about the Cadbury "gorilla" ad, and whether it shifts chocolate bars. In the short term, the answer is clearly "yes", but only time will tell if sales will be maintained when Cadbury stops backing the product with heavy media spend.

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