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Caramilk Secret Confirmed


BronzeEvolution Strategy: Keeping it Fresh

Caramilk is a popular candy bar in Canada best known for its enduring ‘Caramilk Secret’ advertising campaign.

Its revenue is driven by a small group of loyal users made up mostly of older millennials and Gen Xers.

However, to continue to grow, they needed to win back younger consumers. Research told them that younger buyers had memories of eating Caramilk, but the brand had lost relevance in recent years, not surprising given their best-known campaign was almost three decades old! They needed to change that.

Their objective was to reinvigorate Caramilk by increasing brand awareness amongst lapsed, younger users and actively get them to re-engage with the brand.

After conducting a robust social listening audit, they realized that internet users loved conspiracies and were still trying to track down the Caramilk Secret. With additional social media trends analysis, they learned that the conversations about the Secret were happening in addition to search queries.

Research has shown that there was still significant lingering equity to be leveraged in a narrative that was, at first glance, old-fashioned and disconnected. They decided that re-igniting the Secret was a conspiracy discussion that they could get behind. Their Secret was still being debated online; all they needed to do was fan the flames to start a raging fire of controversy.

Caramilk is mostly associated with the Caramilk Secret – a popular series of ads launched decades ago that asked how Cadbury got the caramel in the centre of the Caramilk bar. But in recent years the Secret had taken a backseat in the brand’s storytelling and was mostly being used for promotional purposes.

As a testament to the enduring intrigue around the Caramilk Secret, an online audit found that people were still searching online for answers and creating hilarious theories on how Cadbury got the caramel into a Caramilk bar. The agency decided they needed to take advantage of this continued online interest in the Secret, and to do so they only needed to prompt the internet with some new fodder to get their conspiratorial wheels turning again.

Their idea was to keep the Caramilk Secret unsolved by flooding the internet with misinformation.

First, they posted promoted social posts on Twitter and out-of-home boards inviting millennials to share their theories on how the caramel got inside the Caramilk bar. When someone replied, they would say, “Yes, that’s right” to make them think they had cracked the Secret. But then they told every person who replied that their theory was right. In doing so, they flooded the internet with misinformation to further obscure their Secret.

Later, they posted their favourite theories to their social channels as promoted posts. The content included their written theory, a visual the agency created and a confirmation that they had the right answer. They again flooded the internet with misinformation and made it impossible for anyone to tell the truth from internet conspiracy. In other words, they playfully made sure their Secret remained just that: a secret.

Twitter named them one of the most successful Twitter campaigns in history. They crushed campaign awareness benchmarks in the CPG space by 266%, and their ad recall was 300% above CPG norms, while industry-norm recall for CPG campaigns is roughly 22%. After being exposed just once to their video posts on Twitter, 49% of users recalled seeing it and 65% of campaign awareness at the end of the campaign. They surpassed CPG benchmarks by 200%, and they saw that intent turn up in sales.

They were able to grow sales when the campaign was in market, with overall sales lift of 1%
on the #1 Caramilk format of Singles. The candy bar and chocolate market in Canada is $3.4B; given the
maturity of the brand, a 1% increase was crucial in helping Caramilk 50g Singles maintain its position
as the #3 Chocolate Singles bar in Canada.

Anchie Contractor – Executive Group Director
Karishma Goomer – Group Account Director
Melissa Barfield – Account Supervisor
Brittany Durdin – Senior Account Executive

Tom Kenny – Chief Strategy Officer
Amy Smith – Strategist
Kyle Fiore – Strategy Director

Nishtha Mahajan – Community Manager

Megan Farquhar – Executive Creative Director
Brian Allen – Group Creative Director
Ines De Ninnis – Group Creative Director
Samiir Mussa – Art Director
David Weaver – Copywriter

Cas Binnington – Chief Delivery Officer
Eric Thompson – Head of In-House Video Production
Janey Rowe – Producer
Reza Bakhshandeh – Project Manager
Thais Maranho – Editor/Motion Graphic Artist
Romy Nanola – Designer/Developer

Website development: RomanZ Media Group

Media: Vayner Media

Stacey L Biggar – Everyday Chocolate Category Lead
Christian C Murphy – Brand Manager (Caramilk & Countline)
Alexandra Marushko – Assistant Brand Manager (Caramilk & Countline)
Nishaad Natarajan – Media Manager

For submission inquiries, please contact Clare O'Brien at cobrien@brunico.com.
For partnership inquiries, please contact Neil Ewen at newen@brunico.com.