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May 27, 2020
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Canadas Mysterious Caramilk Secret

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Saatchi and Saatchi New York capitalize on humor and Cadbury’s legendary corporate secret to promote a Canadian chocolate bar with a Montreal street dance.

Cadbury, the Toronto candymaker, has employed three of advertising’s most effective tools- repetition, humor, and creativity- to successfully market its Caramilk bars in the past few decades.

Canadas Mysterious Caramilk SecretIt’s most commercial is perhaps its most creative. It features a Canadian dance team attired in chocolate and caramel-colored costumes dancing on Montreal streets, supposedly to reveal the company’s 40-year-old secret: How they put the caramel into the chocolate.

Canadas Mysterious Caramilk SecretMind Magazine published an article that purportedly revealed the Caramilk production secret, but Cadbury has continued to base its chocolate bar commercials on the secret theme.

The humorous commercials promise to reveal the production secret through a variety of spokesmen and communications tools, but each turns out to be impossible to understand.

Fast Talking Cockney

In addition to the modern dance interpretations used in the recent street commercial, the sources include explanations by:

  • A South African native speaking in the tonal Xhosa language
  • A fast-talking cockney
  • A 5-year-old child
  • A speed reader is reading faster than listeners can understand.
  • A whale singing underwater.

Though they cannot be understood, the commercials close with phrases like “now you know” or “that’s how we do it.”

Caramilk Secret Revealed

Other ads “reveal” the Caramilk secret in unreadable shorthand and elf documents and in an equally unreadable doctor’s note. Many of the ads and commercials are viewable at a special Cadbury website called “still wondering.”

Are the commercials working?

Columnist Rita Demontis of the Toronto Sun called the secret “a sweet mystery.”

“The secret behind the Caramilk bar still remains one of Canada’s most loved, yet unsolved mysteries. It’s so truly Canadian,” she wrote.

John Phillipson, vice president of chocolate for Cadbury North America, told Demontis that the secret “had intrigued Canadians for so long that it has now become part of our lexicon.” He might have added that it’s a marketer’s dream.

The Caramilk bars are made for Cadbury in Toronto’s Gladstone Chocolate Factory. The dance commercial was handled by Saatchi and Saatchi of New York.

While Cadbury’s production method may be a secret, it’s advertising success has not been. For nearly four decades, it has incorporated constantly changing humor and creativity into the same central theme. Preserving a bit of mystery has also helped.

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