Cadbury’s gorilla ad has divided opinion ever since it launched. Was it a triumph of style over substance, a surrealist image that could be used to draw attention to any product with sufficient budget? Or was it a piece of marketing genius that appealed to new audiences as well as old, enabling the now elusive kids’ market to view it via YouTube, as well as shaking off for the brand the stigma attached to last year’s salmonella outbreak?

As the winner of the TV ad gong at this year’s Gramias – to say nothing for top award in the film category at the Cannes Advertising Festival – our expert judges were clearly fans. I put myself in the same camp. If nothing else, this ad shook from the industry the torpor induced by so much legislation. There’s only so many ads I can take that are aimed at kids but pitched at parents. Only so many dull and worthy ads that big up health claims at the expense of creativity and branding. Functional advertising for functional food. Where was the fun?

With the disappearance of so many favourites, from the Honey Monster to ‘Mars a Day’, here at last was a TV ad that got people talking again – about advertising, about food as fun, about Cadbury. There are some who will argue that Galaxy’s continuing good form proves the advertising hasn’t worked. And that the Mars strategy of focusing on its core audience of women has been more successful. I also concede that both the lorry ad and particularly the latest gorilla iteration – to Bonnie Tyler’s Total Eclipse of the Heart – are a bit of a cop out. But with block chocolate back on form, as credit-crunch-hit consumers abandon premium varieties in droves, anyone who says that gorilla ad hasn’t made a difference is wrong.

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