Ad Nut
Jul 27, 2023

AI-n't a party without Cadbury's new birthday celebration campaign in India

Mondelez India brings AI to the masses by reimagining the birthday song, but can Cadbury's latest tune stand the test of time? Everyone's favourite squirrel Ad Nut explores.

AI-n't a party without Cadbury's new birthday celebration campaign in India

Sigh. It feels like this chocolate-averted rodent just can’t seem to catch a break when it comes to the cocoa nibs. As Ad Nut has shared before, it’s poisonously allergic to the ooey, gooey, delectable stuff.

But, what Ad Nut isn’t allergic to is a good time.

That’s right. Ad Nut likes to party. And what better occasion to kick up your pawed heels on and paint the town brown with, than the classic celebration of one’s birthday. Enter Cadbury India. The Mondelez marvel is a beloved pantry staple (for those lucky enough to not give up their existence in exchange for an elixir-filled bite) and older than time. Much like the birthday song itself. 

Dated to the 19th century, Ad Nut’s quick Google search reveals that sisters Patty and Mildred J. Hill first published the melody in a song entitled “Good Morning to All”, sung to students at the Kindergarten where Mildred worked as a principal. Luckily for these two smarties, they copyrighted the tune, meaning big bucks (and a few lawsuits) lay ahead for them when it was re-imagined as “Happy Birthday to You” with the same melody, as early as 1924. Today, the song has been translated into 18 major languages around the world, and in the beady, ever-alert eyes of Ad Nut, is a certified classic, playable in any and every environment.

But alas, even the humble b’day song is not immune to regeneration – namely – that of AI.

Conceptualised by Ogilvy and Wavemaker in India, as well as technology partners Gan Studio and Uberduck, Cadbury’s latest campaign endeavours to redefine the birthday, by allowing “the gifter to make their near and dear ones feel more loved by creating a customised #MyBirthdaySong, intricately woven with likings and shared memories of the giftee.”

To participate, users either purchase a Cadbury Celebrations pack and scan on to access the microsite or just log on without purchase, and sign-up (gotta get that data baby), and key in details related to the person they’re gifting such as nicknames, anecdotes, and cherished memories. Voila, the digital tool will churn out a personalised tune, down to their preferred music genre. Options include rap, hip-hop, and classical melodies, with a sing-along lyrical video that is downloadable. Family Whatsapp group chats will never be the same again.

Now, far be it for Ad Nut to be a party pooper, but it appears Mondelez India has found a strategy off late, and they’re sticking to it.

Earlier this week, the group launched their Oreo campaign in a very similar vein, featuring Bollywood actor Farhan Akhtar in a Chat GPT-like engagement, whereby consumers of the little cookie delights could ask the AI version of him all kinds of tough life questions when they’re at a loss for words. As with the Cadbury concept, there too, users have to hop on to a QR code microsite and ask their questions, to which Virtual Akhtar would have all the witty and quipping answers. Playful? Maybe. Practical? Not so sure. Is Ad Nut really going to ask its boss for a few more nuts this winter based off a cookie packet's AI response? Unlikelier than Ad Nut being able to afford cashews during inflation season.

However, Ad Nut can give credit where it’s due, and say that sure, of course, chocolates have a great relevancy to the celebration of birthdays. Ad Nut just isn’t so sure about the long-term validity of an AI-generated mad-libs melody for grandma.

On one hand, this squirrel is very impressed by Cadbury’s ability to demystify an otherwise somewhat ambiguous technology and market it to the masses. And in the context of Indian culture, Ad Nut predicts the personalisation element and bringing family into the mix will generate great success. Plus, who doesn’t love a good custom AI song right now?

But, on the other hand, whilst the novelty effect of a tune here or there might seem initially riveting, Ad Nut wonders if this campaign is really going to move the needle in terms of shifting cocoa off the shelves of supermarkets and reassociate a stronger bond when it comes to the joy of gifting with Cadbury? Especially, as the microsite is accessible without purchase.

As far as PR campaigns and talkability goes, ten points to Gryffindor for a fun little gimmick here, but Ad Nut isn’t quite waxing lyrical about it just yet.

Ad Nut is a surprisingly literate woodland creature that for unknown reasons has an unhealthy obsession with advertising. Ad Nut gathers ads from all over Asia and the world for your viewing pleasure, because Ad Nut loves you. You can also check out Ad Nut's Advertising Hall of Fame, or read about Ad Nut's strange obsession with 'murderous beasts'.


Campaign Asia

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