The Work: The simple delight of Cadbury’s boy on a bus

11 January 2022

This first appeared in the Nov/Dec 2021 edition of AdNews. Subscribe here to make sure you get your copy.


Iconic chocolate brand Cadbury set out to win the hearts of Australians with its commercial about a little boy on a bus. The campaign, created by VCCP, came at the right moment, launching at the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic in May 2020 and warming the hearts of local viewers.

The brief for the campaign was to continue Cadbury’s “There’s a Glass and a Half in Everyone” which has been the foundation of the company for its 200-year history.

The spot features a young boy who has been forbidden by his mother to eat chocolate, only to unexpectedly offer it to a young woman crying near him on the bus.

“There were a few scripts on the table, but we kept coming back to this idea,” says Cadbury brand equity director at Mondelez, Anthony Ho.

“The act of kindness from our little boy is so unexpected, it made the demonstration that there really is a glass and a half in everyone even more pronounced.

“Cadbury chocolate has long been associated with moments of giving and generosity. In a time when we haven’t had much human interaction, we love how this ad reminds us of the big impact we can have on others, even with a small act of kindness.

“We’ve seen an enormously positive response from consumers and have seen brand equity increase during the past year.”

The campaign resulted in a favourability life of 140% and an ad recall lift of 56%.

VCCP executive creative directors Chris Birch and Jonny Parker helped with the shoot in the UK, filming in the last few weeks before COVID-19 became a reality.

“It’s a very happy last memory of pre-pandemic,” says the duo.

“Considering this was a super important spot featuring a six-year-old boy as our lead character, putting the ad together wasn’t anywhere near as challenging as it could have been.

“When you’ve got a client-agency relationship as strong as the one we have, with a team of people from creatives to CMO all pulling in the same direction, the process is pretty smooth. Add a brilliant director such as Frederic Planchon into the mix and you’re bound to create amazing work — if we do say so ourselves.”

For Birch and Parker, the little boy on the bus was the winning idea because of the simplicity of the gesture.
“It’s a truthful, relatable story about real generosity,” they say.

“Not fake, overblown, shouty gestures. But something as kind and simple as a child offering an upset girl a bit of his chocolate.

“There seemed to be something really relatable about being in that situation — sat on a bus or a train and seeing someone sad and upset. Of course, if we’re being honest with ourselves, most of the time we look away, minding our own business. But what would happen if we didn’t?”


Have something to say on this? Share your views in the comments section below. Or if you have a news story or tip-off, drop us a line at

Sign up to the AdNews newsletter, like us on Facebook or follow us on Twitter for breaking stories and campaigns throughout the day.

Read more about these related brands, agencies and people

comments powered by Disqus