Selling Soap

The Gorilla in the Boardroom you get it?

The new Cadbury's Dairy Milk spot is worth taking a look at. From the agency/mind that brought you Sony's Balls, comes the first Glass and a Half Full of Milk production.

So there's a gorilla, playing the drums, to Phil Collins, and a new 'production company', which promises more content in development, to promote chocolate.

The spot brings a smile to my face. The moment the drums kick in and the gorilla flares his mighty nostrils,  the zygomatic major muscles involuntarily contract around my mouth and pull it up and open.

According to the mighty mind of Lawrence Green, this is the point. Just as a cube of chocolate causes a 'moment of joy', so the new Cadbury's strategy is about creating those moments of joy with communications.

The 'production company' website explains:

Well it just seemed like the right thing to do. There's no clever science behind it - it's just an effort to make you smile, in exactly the same way Cadbury Dairy Milk does. And that's what we aim to continue to do; simply make you smile.

There's clearly no product benefit, no USP, no reasons to believe. Does that matter anymore? Especially with a brand as well established as Dairy Milk? Is the age of Rosser Reeves drawing to close?

Green claims this is the beginning of a new model of advertising without a message:

"Advertising can be effective without a traditional 'message', 'proposition' or 'benefits'. Indeed, some of the latest advertising thinking suggests that attempts to impose them can actually reduce effectiveness. We are trading our traditional focus on proposition and persuasion in favour of deepening a relationship."

It's the old spectre of emotional vs. rational persuasion. Will this gorilla induce an associated psychologically affective state that will covertly bias cognition, altering the decision making process and increasing the propensity to purchase in the target audience? Who knows.

Perhaps more importantly in the age of ennui and clutter and that, the ad is starting a lot of conversations. Some people hate it, some people love it, but lots of people are talking about it.

And if you buy into Crispin Porter's definition of advertising - anything that makes a brand famous - then maybe that's the point.