Mondelez strings a new tune for an old brand, refreshes Cadbury Silk range

The jingle for the Dairy Milk Silk range of chocolates is being reinterpreted by regular consumers and popular singers as part of an ongoing digital campaign
With a new look and sound, Mondelez India is looking to create a new experience around its premium set of chocolate brands under the Dairy Milk Silk label. Its first brand refresh in a decade, the company hopes, will not just keep old fans in the family but bring in the new, calorie conscious consumer as well. But the challenge really lies in expanding the premium chocolate segment which, in India, is still limited to select urban pockets.

Mondelez believes that it has travelled the distance with its Dairy Milk Silk Bubbly, a variant of the brand that has crossed around Rs 2 billion in sales in one year.  It has seen a similar surge with Dairy Milk Silk Oreo too; the two labels powering much of the sales under the Dairy Milk Silk range that had 13.2 per cent of market share in 2017 according to a Nielsen report. The company says that even its core brand has benefited from the Silk effect, the market share of the mother brand (Cadbury Dairy Milk) is up to 42 per cent, making it the category leader.

The brand refresh process kicked off in September last year. Mondelez asked consumers to sing the popular ‘Kiss me, close your eyes’ jingle in their own way and used two popular singers (Shirley Sethia and Armaan Malik) to set the tone by rendering their versions on YouTube. As the initiative caught speed, the brand found itself being re-visioned in numerous new tunes.

“This is how you can keep a great brand alive, without changing much. The (marketing) remains fresh yet consistent,” says Prashant Peres, director-marketing (Chocolates), Mondelez India. It is not just a new sound effect that the brand refresh is aiming for, the company says it has also tweaked the tactile experience, making the product “curvier, smoother and silky” without changing the taste.

Across the world, sonic branding and experience management is becoming a critical part of branding strategies. In a blog, Bradley Vines, director-neuroscience Europe with Nielsen says that music has become a powerful tool as it acts as an influencer for brands, much like what celebrities do. It helps create familiar associations with the brand for consumers.

Rajeev Raja, founder of Brand Musiq, believes that sounds and jingles help define the brand’s identity and are similar to crafting visual representations. “The Cadbury Dairy Milk Silk is a nice track and it clearly captures the mood that the brand needs to communicate. But the opportunities are more,” he says. 

For Mondelez, it is important to tune in to new ways of connecting with the consumer to prise open the premium category. The Silk range was launched in India in 2009, a time when the country’s premium chocolate consumption was in negligible numbers and the market was just about opening up. While Mondelez had a global portfolio of premium chocolates, it decided to position and brand the ‘Silk’ products differently. 

The base product was pitched as a softer, smoother and creamier offering from the Dairy Milk stable. And the brand was  extended to different variants, all leveraging the strong recall and association for Cadbury Dairy Milk. Ten years later, ‘Silk’ is in for another makeover. But given the rising concerns over sugar among the young, does the brand need more than a sonic rethink? 

Peres says that while the snacking segment is going through an overhaul, chocolates are a different story. “People consume chocolates as an indulgence, it is not a part of the daily diet. Even from a health angle, a chocolate has much to boast about, with cocoa, which is a good antioxidant, milk and milk proteins,” he adds. The communication will thus continue to focus on joy and happiness when it comes to advertising, while on one-on-one interactions with the consumer, the company will talk about ingredients.

The Indian market presents a unique proposition say industry analysts. Average per capita consumption of chocolate is just 250 gram as compared to about 10 kg in the United Kingdom, thereby offering up tremendous potential. But at the same time there is a thin but growing segment of consumers who are in step with their global counterparts on health and diet concerns. A large chunk of this segment overlaps with premium chocolate consumers making it particularly challenging for companies to frame an appropriate and appealing brand identity for such a product.

The chocolate category is around Rs 85 billion (Nielsen), growing at double digits for the last three to five years, in value terms. It is expected to keep up the pace for the next few years and Mondelez India, with over 65 per cent of the total chocolate market, says it wants to develop all segments. “Silk will continue to live in the premium segment,” Peres added.