British love of Cadbury dulled by Kraft buyout

Stephan Shakespeare
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ONE of the big stories of January 2010 was the Kraft takeover of Cadbury. The controversy that this sparked had an immediate and debilitating impact on perceptions of the British confectionary brand.

Between the 19 January and the 19 February Cadbury’s buzz score dropped from +25 to -25 and its index score (a composite score based on six key perception measures) fell from +57 to +44, still well above both Mars and Nestle but a significant drop none the less.

Eighteen months on from the deal, it is a good time to look at how well it has recovered from the decline.

A large amount of the loss of buzz was recovered quickly and it was back in positive numbers by the start of May and above +10 by the end of July.

Over the last year it has generally hovered in a range between +10 and +20, suggesting that most of the negative buzz has faded away, but it had not quite recovered the positive aura that had accompanied the brand prior to the takeover.

The Index score backs up that analysis. The decline was halted promptly, there has been no continual slide but they have not been able to recover the lost ground. They have been between +40 and +50 through that time (now on +44) – a very healthy score, a clear leader in the confectionary sector and well above Mars and Nestle; just not quite at the pre-takeover heights.

The British public’s love affair with Cadbury is far from over but the Kraft takeover has meant that a little of the shine has come off and it has been unable to get it back.

Stephan Shakespeare is chief executive of YouGov