Bad Stuff, bad Cadbury

Cadbury is already in trouble with New Zealand consumers – so the last thing I expected to see was something else to make me annoyed. First my mouse turned into a paint brush…

..and then the entire page was covered. Stuff – are you are letting the cash get in the way of the service to customers? The site made me annoyed today, and I didn’t read a single headline let alone click on any articles (I wrote this instead.)

The homepage was covered by a product from Cadbury – a brand in decay. In fact when I look at Cadbury chocolate in stores these days I actually feel a little ill. That’s because they are now using Palm Oil as a fat, and Palm Oil* is horrible stuff – at about 50% saturated fat it more closely resembles animal fat rather than normal vegetable oils. Despite a good FAQ on the Cadbury website I just no longer trust the brand, the products and certainly not the corporate advertising. I’d rather see advertisements that addressed these fundamental concerns rather than a campaign that frankly strongly resembles something a team I was part of successfully pitched during my Promotion Management class at Massey many years ago.

So – a brand that makes me feel ill covering up the news. How does that make me feel about Stuff? Well – I hope they were paid well for it.

*There are many other concerns with Palm Oil, some of which I agree with – and you can read more on Wikipedia.

Published by Lance Wiggs


25 replies on “Bad Stuff, bad Cadbury”

  1. It is amazing to me, that even through the hype about good/bad use of palm oil, that the chocolate actually does taste different, with an after-taste unlike chocolate. Why would you do that? I think there will be alot more spend on advertising to try and dig them out – far more than if they had not changed the recipe in the first place.

    And frankly – palm oil!!!


  2. I don’t really eat enough chocolate to know, but the stuff ad makes me glad I run adblock and noscript.

    Sorry publishers, your ads are invasive and I won’t watch them.


  3. They did the same thing with BNZ…

    Hover over the wrong place and your screen is covered in mud. Then a banking pig comes along to (excruciatingly slowly) wipe it clean.

    The response (from Kate Morris @ Stuff) when I clicked their Ad Feedback link basically said “as a free site, we need ads to pay for our content.” They also claimed that a hover == user initiation.

    (I was simply going to paste the entire email, but since they are covered by 5 or so lines of legalese in scarily small type, I thought better of any reckless disregard for copyright)


  4. What is really strange is that in the UK – Cadbury is going the opposite direction.

    Would be interesting to know if this is a real efforst or the equivalent of greenwashing.

    Based on the giant paintbrush – it could be brownwashing – but looks to be a real thing. The Cadbury Cocoa Partnership sounds interesting as well.

    Perhaps Cadbury (ANZ) mostly run from Melbourne doesn’t know about this programme at all.

    “Cadbury Dairy Milk launched its new Fairtrade-certified chocolate bars today, becoming the first mass market chocolate to gain certification from the Fairtrade Foundation. The independent FAIRTRADE Mark appears prominently on the new packaging, and will bring the logo into millions more homes in the UK for the first time.”


  5. The Herald had the same rubbish on their home page today as well.

    Desperate times for publishers ? I think so


    1. Neither do I, and neither will I in the future, much as I miss a good old Cadbury’s bar. People in the UK ought to boycott Cadbury’s chocolate completely.


  6. Hi Lance,

    Thanks for the feedback – we’re forwarding all comments about the ad to the advertiser which we generally do if we notice an elevated number of complaints.

    Kirsty aka Stuff Ad Manager


      1. Hi Lance,

        Stuff, like all the major NZ media companies has run these sorts of ads for many years, and there’s no question that they can make a big brand statement. However its always a balancing act, and we review what ad formats we carry on a regular basis.



  7. “Just use an ad-blocking add-on or program for your web browser – problem solved.”

    Sure and if everyone did, sit back and watch the amount of genuine orginal content plumment.


    1. I agree with James – we owe it to media to view the advertisements around the content. However I do believe that ad blockers will become common when the ads become too intrusive.

      I’m surprised meanwhile that more publications don’t follow Slashdot’s lead – and offer relatively cheap annual subscriptions in return for not showing any advertisements. NBR could have learned from this.


  8. Its not just the fat content of the oil, its the damage the rush to supply does to our environment. How much jungle can we afford to loose to plantations and how many Orangutans must we loose.
    The spokesman from Cadbury said it was a sustainable source, does that mean they can keep replanting palms after they tear down the forest.
    As for the ad, another sign that Cadbury pays lip service to its customers. They don’t care that it ruined your enjoyment. More worrying neither did scoop.


  9. Much like Adam, I doubt I will ever buy Cadbury again. Not only have they made a bad fist of managing public opinion when they must surely have expected some sort of reaction, they’ve decreased the cocoa content, added a controversial product, decreased pack size and kept the price the same. Oh yeah, and the chocolate isn’t made here anymore.


  10. How is it the fault of the advertiser that the ad was shown? I don’t see the point in Stuff forwarding it to Cadbury at all. Surely it’s up to the publisher (i.e. Stuff) to say what is and isn’t acceptable? More damage was done to Stuff than Cadbury – I’m surprised Stuff has just forwarded it on for comment/feedback? Weak.

    Incidentally, Cadbury would be better off giving Stuff thousands of free chocolate bars to give away to readers, in conjunction with some kind of story or advertorial. That would have probably warmed people to the brand instead of pissing people off.


  11. Horrible, horrible. I have just had to pluck out my eyes with a teaspoon to prevent the pain that this homepage coverup delivers.

    Covering up a home page is guaranteed to produce a counter-productive outcome for any advertiser. The internet is about choice, as soon as you try to remove choice by dominating a home page, you just try to bully the user. And guess what. On the internet the user is spoilt for choice so they leave (and end up hating the advertiser). Bullying doesn’t work here.

    For the news site, covering up the homepage is worse. Its embracing the fact that you are prepared to whore your quality news (and Stuff do have quality news) and your drive to beat the Herald in UVs, for the advertising dollar.

    Bad call.


  12. Its a crap ad, intrusive, and generally detracting from the front page and headlines. Just like the MediaOne ads that automatically start and hog my bandwidth. I make a point to deliberately not buy/use/watch what ever is contained in the MediaOne ads.


  13. The thought process that went through my mind with this ad was: “what the?: Oh F*ck *ff”

    How on earth is that good for a brand?


  14. Damnit! I sent an email yesterday via their report news link, didn’t realize there was an Ad Feedback one there :$


  15. I guess the accountants have taken over at Cadburys with the change in recipe. Coca-cola was a marketing 101 case study..changed the recipe of original coke and let Pepsi in the door. Watch Whittakers take off now. Until they did this I thought Cadburys was made in NZ…turns out its made in Oz (with some NZ ingredients).


Comments are closed.