2008 Creativity Award Winner: Cadbury: Gorilla

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A guy in a gorilla suit, a shiny new drum set, and a resurrected pop classic from the '80s. What more do you need to create a standout brand message? Not much, judging from this virally embraced phenomenon. A gorilla reaches near orgasmic heights drumming to Phil Collins' "In the Air Tonight." He bears a strike a striking resemblance to chocoholics taking a bite of velvety goodness, yet not even a nib of Cadbury cocoa appears during his performance. Fallon, London's multi-hit maestro Juan Cabral conceived another unpredictable and emotional route to consumers' hearts in order to revitalize a beloved U.K. brand that was starting to lose its luster. The result? A 2008 Creativity Award winner and one of the biggest advertising—and pop culture—hits of the year. Not to mention a place back on the charts for Phil Collins.

Q&A with Fallon/London Creative Director/Partner Juan Cabral

What does the success of this work say about what advertising needs to do today?

Cabral: We were trying to go for the heart and not the head. The client understood that. But that doesn't say anything about rules in advertising. Quite the opposite.

Where was the Cadbury brand before you launched Gorilla? Where did it need to go?

Cabral: The client wanted the brand to be loved. I mean, people knew what Cadbury was about and all that, but it needed to wins people's hearts. A nice brief, but a really hard one.

Why the gorilla? Why the Phil Collins song? Why the drums?

Cabral: It kind of makes sense to be honest. It's a very powerful drum solo. So a gorilla has to play it.

Why did you decide to direct the spot?

Cabral: When I started to write the script, it came out very detailed, like some kind of treatment. It had to be like that, because it was probably the only way to sell the idea—timing and tone had to be right. Once the client decided to go for it, we realized there wasn't much time before going on air, so it seemed like the right thing to do.

What was directing like?

Cabral: I found it very enjoyable to be in the middle of the problem. You are just driven by the project. You don't have time to delineate when you are writing, directing or whatever. It was one experience from start to finish.

Were there fun parts?

Cabral: I remember that I picked three different sets of drums to try on the day. The morning we were shooting, the art department guy comes in a bit shyly and says, "I'm afraid I only got hold of two out of the three drums you wanted." Matthew (the producer) and I looked at him in silence, expecting a really good excuse. Then he added, "The strangest thing happened. Someone ordered the same drum kit for a whole month to take on tour—Phil Collins."

What do you think of the reaction to the spot?

Cabral: I just heard that Phil Collins is back on the U.K. charts after 20 years. Don't know whether that's good or bad, but it's certainly funny.

We've heard a lot of "this doesn't have anything to do with chocolate" comments. What do you say to that sentiment?

Cabral: I genuinely feel we've given the most professional answer to Cadbury. But you should ask the client about that.

In light of the success of this commercial, what are your thoughts on brand creativity today? What does brand creativity need to do in order to succeed?

Cabral: Don't have an answer for that to be honest...You have to figure it out every time.

Check out more of the 2008 Creativity Award winners.
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