Cadbury appears to be readymade for social marketing as it is a historic brand with products that people love.

However it hasn’t simply rested on its laurels and expected the ‘likes’ to come rolling in.

In the past year we’ve reported on Cadbury’s use of Facebook and Google+ for product launches, as well as its shift away from traditional media thanks to its success in social media.

Therefore I thought it would be interesting take a closer look at how the brand uses Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and Google+.

This post is the latest in a series that has already examined the social strategies of several other major consumer brands, including ASOS, Tesco, McDonald’s and Red Bull.


It’s no surprise to find out that Cadbury has established separate Facebook pages for each of its most popular products, including Dairy Milk, Wispa, Crème Egg, Bourneville and Hot Chocolate.

Each one publishes its own content and competitions making it difficult to condense it all into a single blog post, so I'll just focus on the key highlights.

The first thing to note is that all the pages are updated on a daily basis with brand-related content, ranging from straightforward product promotions to recipe ideas.

In general each post attracts thousands of likes and tens of comments, which the social team does a good job of responding to.

Cadbury clearly sees value in maintaining an active Facebook presence and interacting with customers, probably because it has already achieved a great deal of success in nurturing its fans as brand advocates.

This is a departure from the more casual approach adopted by Starbucks and McDonald’s, which make very little effort to maintain their social communities but still achieve massive levels of engagement on their Facebook walls.

Looking specifically at the Dairy Milk page, most of the content is currently about promoting the Joyville brand with a strong focus on its competition to find a ‘Joyville Taster’. 

The winner receives a trip to the Cadbury factory, a year’s supply of Dairy Milk and the chance to be the first to taste new products.

To be in with a chance of winning you have to come up with a word to describe Dairy Milk chocolate then enter it either on a dedicated minisite or within a Facebook app.

It’s a really smart competition as the prize is positioned as a ‘sweet benefits package’ that comes alongside the fictional job. It’s a great way of rewarding fans with a prize that can’t really be won anywhere else.

The Wispa page is also running a promotional campaign to celebrate reaching two million ‘likes’. The social team has researched its fans and has begun publishing random stats about them.

Again, it’s a clever way of celebrating the community and the posts make a nice change from the usual product promos.

The current Wispa campaigns follows a brilliant campaign that the Dairy Milk team ran last year to celebrate reaching one million ‘likes’.

Cadbury realised that despite having so many fans, only 16% of them ever saw content that the brand posted on Facebook.

The challenge was to increase the engagement among its fans, as well as reaching friends of fans and the wider Facebook community. To test what content users would engage with, Cadbury decided to build a giant Facebook ‘like’ thumb out of pieces of Dairy Milk.

It used teaser ads in the build up to the event, and then live streamed in a studio decorated with user-generated content and photos. The team also responded to user requests and comments in the video.

As a result, Cadbury gained 40,000 Facebook fans and more than 350,000 people were actively involved in the campaign. Some fans even left the live feed running for hours on end.

Perhaps the most important result was that more than 33% of fans engaged with the campaign and it proved that the brand could achieve impressive results through social marketing, which helped underpin the new Joyville marketing initiatives.


As with Facebook, Cadbury has established separate Twitter feeds for it different products, but unfortunately it hasn’t achieved the same amount of success.

The main corporate account has more than 130,000 followers, far more than any of the product-specific feeds, and tweets upwards of 20 times per day.

However most of tweets are either repurposed from Facebook or are retweets of other users that have mentioned the brand.

The social team do occasionally respond to @mentions, but these appear to make up a small proportion of the activity.

The Dairy Milk (31,000 followers) and Wispa (6,000 followers) feeds are much the same, with repurposed content and retweets making up a majority of the activity.

Personally I’m surprised that so little original content is published through Twitter, and that Cadbury responds to relatively few @mentions.

It is probably a decision dictated by resource to an extent, as it’s obviously easier to adopt a centralised approach to social and limit the amount of responses.

However ASOS and Tesco have taken the decision to respond to as many @mentions as possible, and personally I feel it is a great way of engaging with customers and building brand loyalty.

Furthermore, unlike a number of other consumer brands that I’ve looked at, Cadbury doesn’t attempt to provide customer service on Twitter. Instead it includes a link to the customer service contact information in its bio.

That said, Cadbury did make an interesting case study for the success of Twitter advertising. It revealed that a campaign to promote the new Wispa Gold using Promoted Trends increased 'positive' brand mentions on the social network by 1,800%.

Furthermore, the ‘Retweet for Sweets’ challenge associated with this saw engagement levels of 25%.


Cadbury UK has been running a Pinterest board for more than a year now, but its level of commitment has been somewhat lacking.

It has created just five boards and pinned a grand total of 116 images. Thankfully Cadbury hasn’t fallen into the usual trap of only pinning its own content, however its difficult to see what the social team is hoping to achieve by maintaining this account.

Cadbury has just 622 followers and there doesn’t seem to be any real strategy behind it. The boards are generally quite uninspiring – one of them is just a collection of uniform images of gluten free products – and the activity is extremely limited.

The latest board is definitely the most attractive and includes a range of images showing recipe ideas that use Cadbury products.

But overall the account is largely inactive and I can’t imagine it yields any positive results for the brand.


While researching these posts I noticed that the general trend among consumer brands is to establish a Google+ account and then totally ignore it.

There are a few notable exceptions, such as ASOS and Red Bull, but they are few and far between. However I can also add Cadbury to the list of brands that have embraced G+.

It posts several updates a day, much of which is repurposed from other platforms though it seems some of the content is unique to this platform.

The chocolate brand was an early adopter of G+ and last year social manager Jerry Daykin was kind enough to share his five top tips for using the platform.

Google has also flagged up the brand a case study for how to make use of Google Hangouts. Cadbury has hosted several hangouts in the past 12 months, including one to celebrate reaching 500,000 followers and another to let its community ask questions to Olympic swimmer Rebecca Adlington.

At the minute much of the content is focused around its recipe for Crème Egg brownies, which also links into its Cakes and Baking Community.

The group has 26,000 members who share and discuss recipe ideas, which is a great way of getting people talking about the brand and its various products.

David Moth

Published 20 March, 2013 by David Moth

David Moth is Editor and Head of Social at Econsultancy. You can follow him on Twitter or connect via LinkedIn

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Comments (6)

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Phil Reed

Thanks David, good case study. Obviously Cadbury is a natural brand for social media (lots of content, lots of consumer interest), so it's no surprise it is across most platforms. But it does need to have a clearer strategy for each of those platforms, so it makes the most of each one and doesn't end up constantly repurposing content or being inactive because it can't (or won't) engage.

over 5 years ago


Nick Lewis

A fascinating case study; thanks for sharing.

It should be emphasised however that Cadbury's approach is obviously not suited to all companies or brands, and that not all companies need to embrace as many social networks as the chocolate manufacture.

As Phil says, Cadbury is a natural brand for Social Media given the popularity of the products themselves, and the visual and narrative connotations they provide.

over 5 years ago

Hannah Dempsey

Hannah Dempsey, Associate Director of Social Media at Jellyfish

Whenever asks me for an example of a brand that's using Google+ well, I always say Cadbury. The content on their Google+ page is fun, engaging and visual. As well as using Hangouts, Cadbury also made use of the Circles feature, by asking for 'chocolate beta testers' and putting them into a separate circle for 'exclusive chocolate news'. Who wouldn't want to be a chocolate beta tester?

Whilst chatting about Cadbury's social media spaces in a training a few weeks ago, we noticed that the number of followers for each space was vastly different - they have more fans on Google+ than anywhere else, although if you added up all the fans from the various Facebook pages, that fact might be different.

Although relatively new, their baking community has been highly successful, demonstrating that when you tap into an existing community, you can further your reach.

over 5 years ago


Kaveh Moravej

Thanks David, very interesting. It seems surprising that they've neglected Pinterest, given that there's quite a large foodie user base there. If they were to use their imagination a bit more, they'd get a lot more followers and engagement there. It also helps to have a product which pretty much everyone loves!

over 5 years ago


David Brown

This is a great case study and a really interesting company regarding their social media presence. I think it makes Cadburys look incredibly exciting, fun and is an enjoyable experience which in my experience reflects the brand. They have really embraced how by engaging with social media you can create a community and a following of people who love to interact with you on different levels.

Cadburys are clearly focusing on the social accounts that are working for them currently and dipping their toe in the water with new channels such as Pinterest. However what this allows them to do is start testing and having a look at engagement levels for the other channels. It's much better for a company to focus attention on what is working rather than spreading yourself too thinly and try and make everything work and failing on all accounts.

over 5 years ago


Simon Poyser

This is a great case study, which indicates how social media can significantly enhance consumer brand engagement, when undertaken as part of a well considered communication plan ( which is properly resourced, to maintain social communities.

over 5 years ago

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