Chocolate maker Cadbury has been hit with a deluge of emotional pleas calling for the restoration of its Marble chocolate block, in the latest chapter of a social media campaign that has popped up over the past year to bring back the milk and white chocolate swirl.
A Facebook post from a Cadbury fan last Thursday has generated more than 25,000 engagements after she begged the company to bring back the Marble blocks and their “fluffy hazelnut praline” centres.
“I’m writing to implore you to bring it back, even just for a little a while. Let’s not kid ourselves, it should have never been taken away,” the post reads.
Cadbury Australia has been tight-lipped on whether there’s any chance the product, which was discontinued in 2012, could actually return.
In a statement to SmartCompany, a spokesperson for Cadbury’s parent company Mondelez International said while the company was constantly reviewing product lines, the discontinuation of the Marble block years ago was a case of making way for other ideas.
“Unfortunately this sometimes means that nostalgic favourites need to be discontinued to make way for the new,” the spokesperson said.
While there was no commitment to a revival, the company says “we are always listening to consumer feedback so we never say never!”.
This is not the first time this year the chocolate maker has been asked to come to the table to discuss resurrecting the product.
A Facebook page with more than 10,000 followers has also been making a push for the return of the product, posting a variety of humorous pleas, including an image of an open letter to Malcolm Turnbull on the matter.
In response to individual comments on Facebook this week, Cadbury Australia has responded with the message, “We’ll let our team know of your interest in seeing Marble return “.
Social media expert and director of Social Concepts Jessica Humphreys says even if the company has no intention of bringing back the product, Cadbury could be doing more to leverage the product enthusiasm on show in this case.
“I think most businesses of any size would count themselves lucky to be in the position Cadbury is, but they’re not really taking the opportunity,” she says.
Even if there’s no intention of reviving a product, it’s important to engage with fans to show “there’s an understanding of why they love the product”, Humphries says. In this case, a standard response might not cut it.
Amplifying the goodwill
Cases like this one hold significant lessons for small businesses, says branding expert Michel Hogan. There’s always room to amplify enthusiasm even if you can’t follow through on a customer’s request.
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“If something like this is going viral, it’s going viral from a reason,” Hogan says.
“You’ve got a customer saying, ‘Hey, we love you!’ They’re not saying, ‘you suck’. It’s about finding and taking the cue from the customer and doing something with it.”
There might be cases where you simply cannot accommodate a request for a product relaunch because of logistics or timing. Hogan says that doesn’t mean a business shouldn’t form a connection with a fan who is asking for something to be added to your business.
“There are so many other ways you can tap into it. Maybe you involve the person in a product development group, saying ‘we’d love to have your opinion on some other good things we have coming up.”
Chief executive of Good Things Marketing Helen Ahrens agrees that bringing fans into the realm of product testing is a good strategy. But given Cadbury’s silence so far, Ahrens believes it’s unlikely the company is seriously thinking about relaunching the Marble product.
“If they haven’t brought it out already, then it’s probably not viable,” she says.
However, Cadbury’s reluctance could carve a space for other businesses to leverage enthusiasm for the Marble product with their own cheeky campaigns.
“Maximise the opportunity that someone else isn’t picking up on,” Ahrens says.
“If you were a rival chocolatier, I would be a bit cheeky on social, maybe offer a product, or try a “Marble pop-up” in your cafe.”