How Cadbury won the battle of worms?

Brand – Cadbury
Crisis – The Worm Controversy

In October 2003, just a month before Diwali the Food and Drug administration received complaints about infestation in bars of Cadbury Chocolates. Fresh stock of chocolate bars was being shipped out to many outlets across India. Previously another complaint was recorded to the FDA in Pune regarding the same issue. Acting on the consumer complaint the FDA quickly acted upon this and launched an enquiry for the same and ordered the seizure of chocolates bars that are being sold and shipped. 

For the following fortnight every newspaper had the headlines of  ‘Worms found In Cadbury Chocolate’ and every media channel showed the same too.

In their defence Cadbury issued a statement saying that the infestation was not possible at the manufacturing unit it was most likely because of the poor storage at retailers that led to this situation.

Cadbury found themselves in the eye of a storm.

Company’s Response Strategy

Even while the company was under siege, Cadbury made itself accountable as it conveyed empathy to the victims and launched a comprehensive education initiative covering nearly 200,000 of its retailers around the world.

Initially the company’s response may have been too passive. Once the matter escalated, however, Cadbury acted decisively. It immediately suspended its advertising campaign and focused its efforts on educating retailers on safety and hygiene. It kept the media updated through detailed press releases on the specific measures it was taking to correct its manufacturing and storage processes. It also overhauled the machinery and packaging processes of its most popular product lines.

The Comeback Strategy

Cadbury to recover from this incident launched a Project called as Project VISHWAS in order to regain its customers and tarnish the image created by the worm incident. Project VISHWAS was a three-step campaign where Cadbury had targeted the media, retailers and employees.

  • For retailers Cadbury started this campaign as a educative initiative and taught the retailers over the handling and storage of Cadbury Chocolate Bars.
  • For the media Cadbury had assembled an outreach program wherein the spokesperson of Cadbury sat with each and every media editors and answered each of their queries and promised them that Cadbury would also change the packaging for its products.
  • For employees Cadbury took action through meetings and email updates from the directors.

In January 2004 the company launched a new double packaging that covered the whole chocolate bar and keep it safe and fulfilled the promise made to the consumers and media. Cadbury’s revamped packaging of  the metallic poly-flow was costlier by 10-15 per cent, but Cadbury didn’t hike the pack price.

After the company’s infrastructure and packaging had been fixed, Cadbury made Amitabh Bachchan as a brand ambassador for their ad campaigns and resumed its aggressive advertising with Campaigns like – Shubh Aarambh, Raho Umarless and  Kuch Meetha Hojaye!


Within 60 days of the implementation of its new packaging processes, Cadbury’s sales had nearly reached pre-crisis levels. The company announced eight months after the incident that its consumer confidence metrics were back to normal.

Cadbury had the sweetest recovery from the crisis and it continues to lead the Indian chocolate market with over 70 percent market share.

Marketing Lessons to learn from Maggi.

Started salivating at the thought of your favourite two-minute noodles?
The iconic Maggi noodles can be easily recognised by its four-word tagline. We’ve grown up with Maggi being our special meal. An incentive we were offered for finishing our homework on time or cleaning the mess made or after exam treat.
Maggi is something everybody knows how to make and everytime we make, there is something special about it. The real credit goes to Maggi’s campaign team for pushing the right buttons and ensuring its presence in every household. Their strategy when it comes to television commericals or even stills is so apt that when we see it, we not feel the hot masala-filled noodles detangling in our mouth but can smell it too.

Maggi was acquired by Nestle way back in 1947, but even till date maggi holds the stage independently and pre-dominantly. It suffered a massive set back in June 2015, when MSG Levels were above expectable. Follwing this, As per government’s decision, Maggi was removed from supermarkets, stores etc. much to the heartbreak of millions.The internet blasted with Maggi smuggling memes and people were forced to turn towards other brands.In the quarter ending June, Maggi reported its first quarterly loss in at least 17 years.
Five few months later, People of India woke up to the news that Maggi was going to make its comeback and people were ready to battle it out for first few packets.Today Maggi has regained its trust and got back the pre-ban customer percentage and continues to be right at the top of packet food chain. How maggi regained the former reputation? Here are some of the tactics used by Maggi that teach a lot about marketing.

1. Storytelling in digital Age.

Maggi has been systematically rolling out films in each phase of its ban status. It also ensured to address varied consumer segments in video series- young boys and girls living in hostels, bachelor pads, Moms have been making maggi for their kids ever since it’s been there.

Maggi has been systematically rolling out films in each phase of its ban status. It has also ensured to address varied consumer segments in its video series – young boys and girls living in hostels, bachelor pads to the Indian moms who’ve been making Maggi for their kids ever since it’s been there.

Nestle India had rolled out a series of short films hashtagged #WeMissYouToo when it waited for the test results. Dedicated to all the fans that supported and stood by the brand, there was a Maggi fanboy/fangirl in each of the videos, who badly missed their favourite noodle. They are seen making a plea to Maggi, as if it were their long lost friend – “Come back, man!”, “Ab a bhi jao”, “kab wapas aayega yaar?”, “We miss you Maggi“.

2. Using the nostalgia factor
Maggi has always made family-based advertisements to attract its customers. Most of the ads centre around mothers delighting their children with their favourite two-minute noodles with a storyline of how the child was having a bad day at school or the child growing up to use the mother’s special Maggi recipe to show her that she still needs her. Either which way, the narrative revolving around the mother-child duo (in most of the ads) strikes a chord with the users, who then subconsciously start noting the family value the product manages to sell. Quite naturally, the first ad after the Maggi relaunch was of a mother speaking nostalgically about her child’s trust with his favourite noodles, thus further adding to the emotional value of the customer’s right there.

3. The perfect medium for the launch
Along with increased spending on television ad space, Maggi was relentless in its promotions of the upcoming relaunch on social media. Using the full force of its high held presence on a platform like Facebook, which has about 261,433 likes on it (on last count), and an 87,700 following on Twitter.

4. Making it Exclusive
Like with everything else, consumers thrive on the feeling of owning a product or service ‘exclusively’. Maggi played its cards smartly when it decided to take this into account by making a deal with Snapdeal, which became the only platform where Maggi packets were sold before its official comeback into the shelves of all stores. This raised its demand by a roof and customers were trying to outbid each other for the ownership of the packets, sometimes even paying more, before it went out of stock. The company thus set the stage for Maggi’s official comeback into the markets.