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#OrchidsandOnions: Cadbury's Mother's Day ad just did it for me

Mr Price, for allowing your staff no flexibility when it comes to dealing with customers - and making zero provision for goodwill - you get an Onion.
Screen grab from the ad.

The first time I got my mother a present for Mother’s Day, she gave me the money. We weren’t loaded enough that I could get regular pocket money and, back in primary school, I couldn’t join the labour force, even part-time.

I remember the anxiety of trying to decide what to get and having to discard various items because they were too expensive… and finally settling on something like a tea strainer holder.

So, I must admit, I did get a wee lump in my throat when I saw the latest Cadbury’s chocolate ad, which was running around Mother’s Day.

We see a little girl walking with her hard-working mum (she looks like a nurse) on their way home.

Egg Films' and One Show awardee creates nostalgic new TVC for Cadbury

Hot on the heels on a spate of accolades for his short film 'Vuka', including a merit certificate from the prestigious One Show, Egg Films' Zwelethu Radebe has drawn on memories of his childhood to create a new TVC for Cadbury that will tug on South Africa's heart strings...

Issued by Egg Films 17 May 2019

As mum stops to talk on the phone (work-related probably), the little girl goes into the corner shop to buy her a birthday present. She gestures that she wants chocolate and the man behind the counter shows her the Cadbury’s bar.

She nods – and then goes in her handbag to pay. But it’s not money she hands over – it is her little nick nacks, from a fake medallion to a plastic ring and finally, as the shopkeeper raises his eyebrow, a tiny dog, her most precious possession.
He hands over the chocolate bar and then, as the little girl turns to go, he calls her back and hands her the tiny dog… “Your change”. She skips out of the door and gives the present to mum, murmuring “happy birthday”. Mum is overwhelmed and almost in tears. The man behind the counter smiles. The punch line is a modification of the famous Cadbury’s line: “There’s a glass and a half in all of us”.
I know it is an adaption of an overseas idea – done by Egg Films director Zwelethu Radebe to a brief from Ogilvy – and I know it is cheesy, but somehow, I don’t care.

If you can make an old cynic like me pause for a moment and even feel a little good, then you’ve told a great story. And the best advertising is about telling memorable stories.

Cadbury’s is all about the little, sweet things in life. And this is one of them.

Orchids to Cadbury’s, Ogilvy and Radebe.

So, we now possess two large sofa cushions from Mr Price – ironically, thanks to the company’s couldn’t-care-about-people philosophy.

My wife needed to get some Mr Price logo material for a school project she and her pupils were doing (don’t ask...)

At the local Mr Price (where she has shopped before), when she asked if she could possibly have a few parcel bags with the logo on them, she was treated like a shoplifter. Even when she offered to buy the bags, she was told: not possible.

The branch manager couldn’t help either. Policy is policy.

So, she bought the cushions. And got some bags. But do you think she will be going back there?

So, Mr Price, for allowing your staff no flexibility when it comes to dealing with customers – and making zero provision for goodwill – you get an Onion. A little niceness goes a long way. And that distance can be doubled in marketing terms, making it, by far, the cheapest form of advertising.
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About Brendan Seery

Brendan Seery has been in the news business for most of his life, covering coups, wars, famines - and some funny stories - across Africa. Brendan Seery's Orchids and Onions column ran each week in the Saturday Star in Johannesburg and the Weekend Argus in Cape Town. Contact him now on