How The Cadbury's Gorilla Advert Very Nearly Wasn't Made

Shola Lee

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How The Cadbury's Gorilla Advert Very Nearly Wasn't Made

Featured Image Credit: Fallon/Cadbury

A thread on Twitter has revealed how the iconic Cadbury's gorilla advert nearly wasn't made.

Twitter user @unclebernbach recounted the story of the advert that basically saved the Cadbury's brand back in 2007.

The ad features a gorilla playing a killer drum solo along to the song In The Air Tonight by Phil Collins.



The Twitter user started by explaining the advert and how the gorilla 'takes a deep breath. He stretches. We see a drum set. The gorilla is preparing for something', and then plays a solo that made the whole of the UK want a drum kit.

Genuinely, that was on my Christmas list in 2007; I got a robot dog instead, which to be fair to my parents was probably the right call.

Still, the ad made history as 'one of the most awarded ads of the 2000s'.


It also helped change 'the fortunes of the Cadbury's brand after years of declining sales'.

How you may ask? Well you don't need Don Draper to explain how quickly good advertising can transform a brand — you just need a Twitter thread.

As @unclebernbach goes on to explain, in '2006, Cadbury was in a bad spot'.

The brand was faced with 'multiple years of declining sales' and had to recall loads of chocolate 'amid fears of salmonella contamination'.


Yeah, we thought salmonella was just from raw chicken too, but apparently not.

The recall was so devastating that in the following four weeks, Cadbury sales 'fell 14%'.


It was estimated that the brand lost £20million following the outbreak, and its reputation was hit even harder.

After the investigation concluded, it was found that '37 people were affected by contaminated Dairy Milk chocolate'.

Cadbury's needed to improve its public image — and fast.

It was around this time that Phil Rumbol joined the company as marketing director, and was tasked with devising an ad campaign to help the brand's image.


The marketing director decided that he 'wanted an ad that was as enjoyable to consume as a bar of Cadbury’s chocolate'.

And that was exactly what he told Juan Cabral, creative director of the Fallon advertising agency, which Cadbury's had just hired.

Cabral had been playing with the idea of a gorilla playing a Phil Collin's drum solo for some time, after a conversation with his colleagues about the 'best drum solo of all time' became creative inspiration.

So, given Rumbol's brief to create an ad that made you feel as good as eating chocolate, Cabral and his team pitched the gorilla idea — and Rumbol loved it.

His bosses, however, didn't, and according to Rumbol they said, 'So you want to make an ad 3x longer than a normal ad, that doesn’t feature any chocolate and there’s no message?'.

While Rumbol knew that the approach was 'unconventional', he really believed in it, and they eventually agreed to let him create the ad, with Cabral directing.

The team worked with actor Garon Michael — who was in the gorilla suit — to create the incredible ad, and once they had finished it, the company superiors... hated it, and told Rumbol, 'You are never showing this ad.'

Rumbol persevered, however, and after research came back saying people had an 'overwhelming' response to the gorilla, the ad was released.

The video became one of the first proper viral videos on YouTube, and the rest, as they say, is history.

If you have a story you want to tell, send it to UNILAD via [email protected]  

Topics: News, UK News, World News, Viral

Shola Lee
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