August 28, 2007

Responding to an Online Campaign [7:26 am]

Taste of Victory: Online Outcry Revives a Chocolate Bar

Companies everywhere are monitoring blogs and other online discussions for feedback on their brands and providing them with information about coming products, as well as placing so-called viral advertisements on video-sharing sites. But the company insisted that the expressions of affection for Wispa on the Internet were genuine.

The campaign for Wispa, and the decision by Cadbury to revive it, shows what can happen when nostalgia about lost brands converges with user-generated content and social networking sites.

“This is the first time that the power of the Internet played such an intrinsic role in the return of a Cadbury brand,” the company said.

[...] Still, was it wise for Cadbury to give in to the consumer campaign? After all, Wispa was pulled off store shelves for what seemed like solid reasons in 2003. Sales were flagging, and the company said at the time that a majority of consumers preferred a candy bar that was introduced to replace it, called Dairy Milk Bubbly.

“Clearly you want to listen to consumers,” said Karl Heiselman, chief executive of Wolff Olins, a brand consulting firm. “But I think we have to be careful about relying on them to do our jobs.”

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