Thought Leadership - Sharing insights

It’s All ‘Go’

So there I was driving along Tottenham High Street with Zoe alongside me. It was 1986, I had just graduated and started my first job working for Cadbury. I rep’ed for them for c3 years working in north London (covering most of that area as a relief rep), then getting my own territory after 18 months. I was a bit of a rarity, a blonde Geordie lass, calling on retailers some of whom are now a dim and distant memory – Woolworths to name but one.

Life at Cadbury was varied and one of the first projects I was involved in was a regional launch of Cadbury’s Go. This involved a load of reps being dropped in Leeds at an RDC. We were given a driver and a transit van, which was full of cases of product and POS (dump bins, wobblers etc). It was a tough job, walking into shops where you had no relationship, to try and sell them a case or two of product and put up a dump bin. The overall exercise was made worse as it was before Sat Nav and you just had to hope that the driver you were given knew his way around!

The highlight of the year was Christmas when each rep was given a 7.5-tonne lorry and a driver. We would go around stores selling product off the back of the lorry. Favourite items were a jar of Roses, big blocks of CDM (Cadburys Dairy Milk) and selection boxes. It was great fun and very physical. Compared to the ‘Go’ launch, selling off the back of a 7.5t lorry was a relatively easy job because at least you were on your own patch, so knew where all the shops were. At night you returned to the depot in Perivale to restock the lorry, process orders and get ready for tomorrow. It was here that I first experienced driving a 7.5t truck…

I often look back on my time at Cadbury very fondly and think that it shaped the person I am today. Since then, we have had Chocolate Gate (where the EU refused to allow UK chocolate to be sold on the mainland – something to do with the inclusion of vegetable fat). A plethora of NPD, some good, some bad… A few good adverts (I am thinking about a drumming gorilla). Pantone gate (Pantone 2685C), to name a few episodes.

What has brought this back to the front of mind is the news that Cadbury has launched a CDM that has 30% less sugar and I am torn between ‘what a great initiative’ and ‘nanny state’. Is this an initiative responding to consumers’ needs? Or responding to perceived pressure to be seen to do the right thing and steal a march? You decide.

Oh, it just occurred to me that I forgot to mention who Zoe was, she was my pet Dobermann Pinscher who travelled with me everywhere for 2 years…

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