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Cadbury encouraged illegal activity and we understand why.

Bridget Johnston March 19, 2019

“Experimentation without the fear of failure” is one of Pattern89’s core values. It allows us to try new things, some of which have lead to great successes.

Along with this philosophy though, comes mistakes, slip-ups, goofs and straight-up failures. So when we heard about Cadbury’s latest campaign, we instantly felt empathy for their marketing team.

How Cadbury’s Marketing Suggested People Break the Law

Cadbury’s campaign was themed around treasure-hunting, and urged families to go on treasure hunts together. Beyond this though, it suggested historic sights throughout the British Isles that families could dig for treasure. These sights included the seaside at Devon, where a shipwreck can be found, or Somerset, where ancient Roman riches can be discovered with a metal detector.


While this is all fun at first glance, it is illegal. People can be prosecuted for digging without permission, and the archeological sites Cadbury listed have strict rules in place to protect them.

After news and social media outrage, Cadbury took down the campaign, explained their thought processes, and directed families to visit treasures at museums, instead.

Here Are Some of Our Big Marketing Blunders

When looking at this story through the lens of “experimentation without the fear of failure,” we see that Cadbury’s campaign concept came from a good place. They wanted families to explore and learn together.

We also understand that excitement for ideas in brainstorm sessions can make it difficult to see problems that might, honestly, be glaring. The Cadbury case is a perfect illustration of this.

As a means to console the Cadbury marketing team, we’re offering up a handful of our bad ideas. Thankfully for us, none of them made it out of brainstorming sessions, but all these were proposed:

  • Hosting a Pattern89 axe throwing event
  • Making a robot mascot costume for our brand
  • Bringing Pattern89-branded wine to give away at a conference
  • Approaching Johnny Knoxville to be a brand ambassador

And… there were so, so many questionable ideas surrounding our AI-optimized Tinder profile, some of which included:

  • Sharing crazy, funny, weird messages men sent our optimized profile
  • Messaging men back
  • A slew of other offensive ideas that wouldn’t add value to the project at all. We’ll spare you on the blog, but if you want to know the details, contact us.

Our point is though, we understand how Cadbury’s marketing blunder happened. Marketers should absolutely be encouraged to experiment and try new things in their campaigns. We do encourage doing research on what problems might arise in those campaigns though. It will save everyone a whole lot of headache down the line.

In the end, we still love Cadbury. It’s a great brand that makes an excellent product, and we can feel its marketers’ pains.