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Case Studies


Wispa puts its advertising in the hands of the fans

Wispa puts its advertising in the hands of the fans


In 2007, internet campaigners prompted Cadbury to bring back the Wispa bar, four years after it had disappeared from UK shelves due to declining sales. The re-launch was hugely successful, propelling Wispa to the top of the chocolate sales charts.

The brand, with the help of PHD, now wanted to launch a limited edition Wispa Gold as a thank you to the fans that brought Wispa back from the dead.

The strategy

As Wispa was promoting the limited edition Gold bar as a thank you to its fans, it decided to hand the advertising campaign over to the public too.

The idea was to allow fans to share their personal messages with the world on branded Wispa ads. For maximum impact, Wispa decided that outdoor advertising would be the perfect medium to inspire fans to want to share their messages –and for the brand, outdoor represented a public medium within which it could tailor and localise messages.


Fans were asked to create personal messages on the Wispa website, within a Wispa Gold template frame. Winning messages were placed on poster sites around the UK. The winning fans themselves chose which sites on which they wanted their message to appear, by picking them out on an online map of the UK.

To promote the initiative, Wispa communicated with its 250,000 Facebook fans, plus used PR and key media partnerships with the likes of Channel 4 and MSN to broaden the campaign’s reach. Wispa also created a bespoke MSN Messenger application that allowed friends to co-create and submit messages together. A partnership with Channel 4 saw personalities and presenters create their own messages and encouraging the public to do the same.

A PR stunt also saw Rolf Harris paint a live marriage proposal on one of the sites in London’s Old Street.
In total, 913 different executions ran across 3,000 sites in the UK, and in 11 different formats.
Each creative execution was also photographed and uploaded to the website, so that everyone involved could see it and share it with friends and colleagues.


Wispa said that it received more than 7,500 messages from fans about the campaign. Its Facebook group swelled from 262,000 to 798,000 members, an increase of 205%.

The campaign generated 131 PR pieces to the value of £400,500. Overall, it returned an ROI of £8 in value sales for every £1 spent, and Cadbury sold over 18 million bars.

View a video of the making of the campaign below.


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