25 Jul 2012

Cadbury mistakes boost Whittakers - academic

7:03 am on 25 July 2012

Whittakers has cashed in on mistakes made by Cadbury and risen to top spot as the country's favourite chocolate brand.

The company in Porirua has bumped last year's winner St John to number two in the annual Readers Digest Most Trusted Survey. Baking brand Edmonds has debuted at number three.

Auckland University of Technology advertising and marketing senior lecturer Dave Bibby says Whittakers seems to be benefitting from the fact that New Zealanders haven't forgiven Cadbury for its actions in 2010.

"Cadbury had been voted the most trusted brand for about seven years in a row," says Mr Bibby.

"Whittakers started running a comparative advertising campaign, pointing out that Cadbury had moved their production line to Tasmania, their products were the same price but a smaller size, and they used palm oil".

The issue of whether palm oil was a sustainable ingredient created a "social media firestorm" and that year Whittakers went from nowhere to number five in the "most trusted" rankings, and last year moved up to number three.

Mr Bibby says New Zealanders tend to favour home grown brands or those they think are locally-owned such as Watties, which is actually owned by Heinz.

He says the results may not translate to market share but likeability and trust are important purchasing factors.