After receiving 519 viewer complaints citing racism, the ASA has ruled that the commercials, which feature a spoof of Caribbean dub poets and the catchphrase ‘Mastication for the Nation', breached regulations on offence and harmful stereotypes.
Surely someone must have considered what might happen? Mike McKenna, a senior creative at campaign creator JWT, hardly helped the Cadbury PR cause. He is reported to have said, in a David Brent-like defence of the offending ads: ‘I have good friends who are non-white'.
Cadbury could probably do without such distractions at the moment. The firm recently announced plans to split its confectionery wing from its beverage business; when notorious US corporate raider Norman Peltz took a 3% stake in the company, rumours of a forthcoming takeover for a standalone confectionery firm were rife.
It's perhaps with this in mind that chief exec Todd Stitzer revealed this week the positives of a merger with US confectionery giant Hershey. Such a move would give them a 15.7% share of the global confectionery market, and 16.2% of the chocolate market, and would perhaps prove too strong for any aggressive approaches.
Plus, when you consider that Hershey recalled 25 of its product lines last November in its own salmonella scare, the companies clearly have more in common than mere confectionery. Now, where's that Easter egg…