PRWEEK AWARDS 2003: Specialist & Technique - Research


Focus PR used original research to create a high-profile, news-led campaign to revitalise the Cadbury Dairy Milk brand and drive sales from zero growth to more than 12 per cent.

Targeting chocolate lovers, the PR team commissioned Dr Dylan Evans, an evolutionary psychologist, to look at where chocolate fits in in relation to other mood-enhancing experiences etched into the nation's psyche.

Dr Evans conducted his research online at a specially created website, with 1,000 volunteers - including 13 national newspaper and magazine journalists - divided into three groups.

For five days, the first group ate chocolate every day; the second group ate chocolate if they felt like it; and the third refrained from eating any chocolate at all. Participants kept a mood diary.

This study produced some unexpected findings that formed the basis of a media relations campaign. Press materials highlighted that almost 70 per cent of those who ate at least one bar of chocolate a day said they felt happy, compared with only 41 per cent of those who ate no chocolate at all.

Two further pieces of research supported the findings; a study into British happiness levels from NOP and a review of existing information on the mood-enhancing properties of chocolate by a Cambridge University scientist.

The PR teams estimated media coverage of the key campaign message that 'chocolate makes you happy' reached more than 31 million people. Coverage encouraged another 7,700 people to take part in a follow-up research project with Dr Evans, and more than 5,000 new names were recruited to the Cadbury direct marketing database.

The PR team then created a series of promotions with regional radio stations, newspapers and women's magazines, with a competition to win a year's supply of Cadbury Dairy Milk and a themed fridge magnet.

As a result, Cadbury Dairy Milk regained its position as the number one confectionery brand in the UK.


When windscreen-replacement specialist Autoglass faced being squeezed out of its sector by competitors, QBO Bell Pottinger used research to establish its safety credentials and drive up revenue by £3m.

In 2002, consumer awareness of Autoglass was at its lowest for five years.

The PR team explored Autoglass's safety heritage and the rise in UK car crime to create a 'safety for you and your car' communications strategy.

QBO campaigned on two safety causes, targeting previously unidentified groups of high-risk drivers: mums on the school run and newly qualified drivers.

The team also worked with the Association of Chief Police Officers (ACPO) to tackle car crime, and commissioned interviews with 1,000 car crime victims who had used Autoglass. This was backed by leaflets, posters and an initiative with ACPO on car-jacking.

The campaign won extensive media coverage and is now part of the Department for Transport's Think! road safety initiative.


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