Ad Nut
Apr 17, 2019

Can Cadbury's new 'Symbol For All' stand against racism?

Cadbury hopes its new symbol can come to be used to promote cultural inclusivity following years of negative social media trolling.

It only takes a few minutes on a Cadbury Facebook page to see the brand's point. Underneath a video post on the group's India page entreating viewers to buy a Cadbury 'Wish Pack' bar for a chance to win gadgets, one user, 'Kyla Aaron' has written: 

"Nope. You endorse Halal. I don't support companies that fund terrorism". 

Race, ethnicity and religion-related comments along these lines—"hate-fuelled sentiment", as the brand puts it—have been appearing on Cadbury social-media accounts for years, presenting the company with an interesting dilemma about how to respond. 

Now (yes, as cynics have pointed out, a few days before Easter), it has decided to act. Cadbury Australia in partnership with Ogilvy Melbourne invited eight designers, an anthropologist and a project manager, all from different cultural backgrounds, to make a new 'symbol' with echos of the chocolate brand but also the ability to stand alone as a kind of anti-racism stamp. The result is a Creme Egg-shaped design (Ad Nut's own interpretation) featuring a series of dots, lines and squiggles spiralling out from a small heart. 

"Cadbury’s Symbol For All, has been created for any person, organisation or company to customise and use to express their support for a more respectful and culturally inclusive society. The result is a symbol designed to transcend all languages, cultures and faiths", says the brand in a release. 

Ad Nut applauds Cadbury in some senses, because to release this new symbol neccessitates explaining that Cadbury has for years been trolled by people who find something they don't like in what the brand does. That kind of negativity can be hard for a brand to own and certainly hard to make disappear, so it is powerful seeing designers employed by the brand reading out examples of these comments. 

But the big question is whether Cadbury's well-meaning effort with this symbol—which was undoubtedly given extra poignancy by the delay of its release following the (sadly all-too-relevant) Christchurch attacks in New Zealand—will be embraced by anyone outside the brand. Cadbury now hopes people will download it, customise it and share it on their own channels as a show of support for inclusivity. 

Early responses to the video, which has been up for a week on Facebook, are mixed, with users variously writing "Where can I get it on a shirt?" and "Fantastic idea", as well as the perhaps inevitable "How about Cadbury stop 'Virtue Signalling' and just make Chocolate". Ad Nut notes Cadbury is making valiant attempts to reply to most comments at this stage. 

It will be interesting to check in with this campaign in a few months, to see how the reactions play out. 



Paul Chatfield – Marketing Director, Chocolate, ANZ
Anthony Ho –  Associate Director, Brand Equity, Chocolate & Biscuits, ANZ
Amanda Bronesky – Senior Brand Manager, Chocolate
Ben Wicks – Director, Global Brand Equity, Cadbury
Mie-Leng Wong – Head of Global Brands, Cadbury Halls & Tang

Ogilvy Melbourne
Rebecca Matlioski – Copywriter
Ben Ryding – Art Director
Sharon Condy, Josh Murrell – Creative Directors
David Ponce de Leon – Executive Creative Director
Andrew Vohmann – Senior Digital Designer
Gavin MacMillan, Michael McEwan – Managing Directors
Virginia Pracht – Head of Strategy
Danielle Chapman – Group Account Director
Bianca Kerr – Account Director
Oliver Corcoran – Social Community Manager
Bridget Pringle – Digital Producer
Susannah George – Head of Film and Content
Alana Teasdale – Senior Broadcast/Content Producer
Fee Townshend – Director Curve Comms
Symbol Designers
Bradley Pinkerton - Designer 
Bibi Barba - Visual Artist
Noor Sleiman - Designer
Melissa Robinson-Cole -Visual Artist
Abdul Abdullah - Visual Artist
Joris Van Imhoff - Designer
Joy Li - Designer
Pin Athwal - Designer
Gareth Procter – Project Manager
Marilyn Metta - Anthropologist

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'.


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