Friday, January 24th, 2014 - Roy Morgan Research

If the way it’s advertised on TV is anything to go by, chocolate is the key to happiness. Whether viewers are being transported to Joyville, a funky hippo’s zoo enclosure or a romantic beach with Glee star Naya Rivera, chocolate commercials tend to inhabit a fantasy world where irritating details like weight gain and pimples don’t exist. But do these ads hit the sweet spot for Australian audiences?

Roy Morgan Research has measured the real-time reactions of Australians to seven well known television commercials from chocolate brands such as Cadbury, Snickers and Kit Kat, as well as lolly companies The Natural Confectionery Co and Skittles.

By tracking viewers’ spontaneous responses to each ad as it played out, the Reactor provided an accurate, unbiased picture of which ads engaged viewers most successfully and which left them unmoved.  And the most popular ad of the lot? Kit Kat – enjoyed by male, female, old and young alike.

Have a break, have a Kit Kat — the best of seven


Sample: n=240 Australians 14+

Top of the chocs

Taking a break from sweeping out the hippo enclosure, a zookeeper sits down to have a Kit Kat. He rips open the packaging … and the hippo starts making beat-box noises! This whimsical Kit Kat commercial was especially popular with women, but men liked it too, resulting in an ‘R’ score (overall likeability) of 58, the highest of all seven ads.

The ‘Have a break, have a Kit Kat’ ad also topped the field in other key measures: Hot Zone (% of viewers scoring over 70), Peak Score (highest average achieved), Critical Likeability (second half of ad) and End Score (final three seconds). Which just goes to show… who needs persuasive sales-speak when you’ve got a beat-boxing hippo?

Purple balloons, celebrities and Skittles strangeness

Cadbury’s ‘Joyville Special Deliveries’, a magical romp in which Cadbury chocolate is inextricably linked with joy, also rated highly — particularly among female members of our test audience. M&Ms’ Superbowl commercial, starring a red M&M singing Meatloaf’s ‘I Would Do Anything for Love’ as it romances Glee actress Naya Rivera while trying to avoid getting eaten, was extremely popular with men and women under 50.

While a celebrity can certainly boost a commercial’s popularity, it’s not always a sure-fire guarantee. Despite the presence of tennis legend Roger Federer, Lindt’s ‘Lindor Caramel Ball’ ad received a lukewarm reaction at best.

Even less liked was Skittles’ ‘Midas Touch’ spot: a dramatic departure from the usual sweet, upbeat approach of confectionery advertising. This strange mini-saga of a man who turns everything he touches into Skittles alienated older viewers so much that their negative response adversely impacted its overall score.

Michele Levine, CEO, Roy Morgan Research, says:

“Reactor testing of Australians’ responses to confectionery advertisements has revealed some distinct trends. Women almost always respond more favourably than men to the joyous fantasy world depicted in these commercials; likewise, young viewers are far more receptive than those 50 and over.


“As we’ve also found with beer commercials, humour is an effective means of engaging audiences: hence the positive reactions to the Kit Kat and M&Ms ads. (Dark humour, as employed by Skittles, is not so reliable.) Whimsy — as in the Cadbury’s or Natural Confectionery Co’s commercials — was also well received.


“While likeability is crucial for building positive associations that will ultimately influence viewers’ purchasing habits, an ad also needs to be memorable. In this respect, M&Ms topped the list, achieving a top-of-mind recall of 30%.


“With access to more entertainment and information channels and platforms than ever before, Australians are no longer held hostage by TV commercials as they once were. Unless an ad is both likeable and readily recalled, it risks becoming little more than background static.”

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Roy Morgan Research

Roy Morgan Research is Australia's best known and longest established market research and public opinion survey company. Roy Morgan Single Source is thorough, accurate, and provides comprehensive, directly applicable information about current and future customers. It is unique in that it directs all the questions to each individual from a base survey sample of around 55,000 interviews in Australia and 15,000 interviews in New Zealand annually - the largest Single Source databases in the world. The questions asked relate to lifestyle and attitudes, media consumption habits (including TV, radio, newspapers, magazines, cinema, catalogues, pay TV and the Internet), brand and product usage, purchase intentions, retail visitations, service provider preferences, financial information and recreation and leisure activities. This lead product is supported by a nationally networked, consultancy-orientated market research capability.
Samantha Wilson
P: (03) 9224 5268


confectionery, confectionary, chocolate, FMCG, advertising, media, Cadbury, Kit Kat, M&Ms




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