Cadbury’s “racist” advert which offended supermodel Naomi Campbell should never have been allowed to see the light of day, according to a brand reputation expert.
The supermodel accused the company of racism after an advert appeared to liken her to a chocolate bar with the slogan “move over Naomi, there’s a new diva in town” – although Cadbury insisted it was “a light-hearted take” on the social pretensions of Cadbury Dairy Milk Bliss.
The PR blunder for Cadbury comes as the refusal of Kraft boss Irene Rosenfeld to answer questions from MPs continues to cast a shadow over Kraft’s corporate reputation in the UK.
Earlier this week she claimed attendance at hearings of the Business, Innovations and Skills Committee was “not the best use of my personal time”.
Jonathan Hemus, who has worked on brand issues with companies such as Disney and Proctor & Gamble, said he was surprised the Dairy Milk Bliss campaign ever got beyond the drawing board.
“They should have done a proper reputational risk assessment on the campaign, and if they had done that then I can’t believe they would have gone ahead with the advertising campaign.
“Sometimes in a quest to be memorable it is possible to allow the advertising to go way beyond what is in keeping with the brand and what is in keeping with taste and decency.
“They may have come up with an advert which is memorable, but not one which is helpful How that was allowed to happen – my guess is as good as yours – it does not seem to be very well-judged.”
Since before the take-over of Cadbury, Kraft has been warned of the importance of preserving the value of the Cadbury brand, built up over more than a century to one of the best-loved corporate names in the country.