Milka tries a little tenderness in its first work from a broad WPP team
Dogs shouldn’t eat chocolate, of course, but Milka serves as a reward for finding a lost pooch in this new heartwarming campaign for the alpine brand.
“Tender tastes better” is the tagline of the campaign, which comes from a blend of WPP agencies. The holding company's work on Milka began by taking a closer look at the brand's history and purpose. That included even traveling to Switzerland, where the team met the dairy farmers who supply the milk for the chocolate—and even know their cows by name.
The campaign signals a departure from prior work out of Wieden+Kennedy Amsterdam that included a fictitious Alpine town and used the tagline “tenderness is inside.” Milka’s alpine roots are replaced by a tender action, as a boy sneakily collects Milka bars to be offered as a reward for a neighbor’s missing dog.
Mondelēz, which owns brands such as Cadbury, Oreo and Ritz in addition to Milka, is emphasizing the purpose of its brands, trying to forge deeper relationships with the people who buy and consume its products.
“With this new campaign, what we are doing is elevating tenderness from product to purpose,” says Godert Van den Heuvel, the global brand director for Milka, based in Zurich. “Tender tastes better, both in life and in chocolate.”
The “And a lot of Milka” spot, directed by Fredrik Bond, will run in both 60-second and 30-second versions. It scored Milka’s highest-ever results in quantitative consumer pre-testing, according to the brand.
It is WPP’s first Milka campaign since winning Mondelēz International’s global chocolate business and additional categories in 2019. Publicis Groupe was the other big winner in that creative review.
The tender premise is being carried out on the product itself. Milka is putting words such as “love” and “tender,” and some emoji, on the squares of chocolate in an idea that came from WPP. Milka plans to produce more than 50 million of the special bars, says Van den Heuvel, with words in English, Russian, French and German. Some bars will feature letters instead, to allow for the creation of other words, or in other languages.
WPP’s Ogilvy & Mather had the Milka account years back when the brand was owned by Kraft Foods. The WPP team now working on Milka, known as the All-Stars team, includes Ogilvy Germany and France, INGO Stockholm, David Madrid and Scholz & Friends Hamburg, working along with Wavemaker, Ogilvy Social Lab Brussels and H+K Strategies.
Stephan Vogel, chief creative officer, Ogilvy EMEA, and creative lead of the WPP All-stars team, says he grew up with the Milka brand. He felt it was “super well-defined” with its purple packaging, logo and cow, but needed a way to leave the alpine world behind a little bit, bringing those values and translating them in a more modern context.
The brand also wanted to connect with millennials “where we were losing a little bit of relevance,” says Nadia Katsiouli, WPP team lead for Milka.
The campaign starts with online media buys followed by the TV spot, says Annie Allen, global client lead, Wavemaker. It debuts in France, Germany and Russia and will be rolled out in a total of more than 25 markets.
The past year was a solid time for snack brands, as people turned to their favorite treats for comfort during the coronavirus pandemic. Mondelēz noted in the fall that 52% of adults around the world called snacking a “lifeline” during the pandemic, with 88% saying they were snacking more or the same as they were prior to the pandemic.
Mondelēz hasn’t yet reported its fourth-quarter results. Third-quarter sales rose 4.9%.