CASSIES Gold: Caramilk’s success is no secret

With help from The Hive, Kraft Canada brings back the Caramilk Secret, giving it a Willy Wonka-style twist.

GOLD: Events, Seasonal and Short-Term

Situation Analysis: Caramilk is legendary because of its long history of advertising the Caramilk Secret. That continued until 2007, when in reaction to increased competition, Caramilk shelved the campaign and moved to a new strategy based on indulgence. Unfortunately, this confused consumers, leading to significant equity declines. Something had to be done.

Strategy & Insight: In the past, the Secret had just been an advertising idea, but what if it became real? It would sit in a gold envelope, locked in a 1,000 lb. safe, deep within the Cadbury Chocolate Factory, and 10 keys to the safe would be hidden in specially marked Caramilk bars across Canada. The people who found the keys would then be flown to the factory where each key would get a chance to unlock the safe. The lucky winner would get $125,000 right away and another $125,000 if they could resist temptation and return the gold envelope unopened six months later.

Execution: The campaign launched in June 2010 with television featuring a misguided archeologist searching the sands for a golden key, only to be told that the keys were hidden inside Caramilk bars. Meanwhile, was transformed into “search central.” Large OOH boards became giant key racks while cover wraps transformed Metro newspapers into Caramilk safes. Social media was another big part of the campaign, especially on Facebook where the chatter was non-stop. Finally, packaging and in-store displays ensured that the program was front and centre anywhere Caramilk bars were sold.

Results: Across the June-August campaign period, consumption of Caramilk singles increased 51% year over year, and the brand took over as number one in Canada. Share of singles followed suit, increasing 50%, while multi-packs grew 19%. This led to substantial growth in the base Caramilk business for the first time in years, and a 12-point jump in the equity score was the most significant gain in the last decade.

Cause & Effect: “Key to the Secret” was the sole brand activation for Caramilk in 2010 and the only variable over the time frame covered in the case. Media spending levels remained consistent with past years as did pricing, and there were no significant distribution changes.


Kraft Canada
VP confectionery: John Phillipson; marketing director, chocolate & candy: Mackenzie Davidson; brand managers: Laura Henderson, Navita Rathod; senior market research manager:  Lisa Towle

The Hive
CCO: Simon Creet; group account director: Michelle Prowse; AD: Paul Parolin; copywriter: Michelle Spivak; print production manager: Anne Smythe; account supervisor: Shar Khursigara; emerging platforms: Sabaa Quao; digital production manager: Stas Zlobinski; agency producer: Alina Prussky

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