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It’s been just over a week since the new ad from Cadbury dropped, and it’s already creating waves of surprise and delight. Kids from the nineties remember with fondness the 1993 ad where a woman runs onto the cricket stadium to dance with joy at her partner winning a game – in the 2021 version, the story is flipped around, with a man dancing to celebrate his girlfriend scoring a win at cricket. Millennials and Gen Zers are thrilled to see an ad that reflects changing social mores, while celebrities are Tweeting their appreciation of a remake that preserves the flavour of the original. And with this ad, in fact, Mondelez and Ogilvy send out an important message about inclusivity on the field and off it.

The 1993 version of the ad was ground-breaking in its own way. Most ads back then depicted women as demure housewives and mothers – finally, here was a woman displaying her happiness without restraint or thought as to what others might say. It was a reclaiming of womanhood, done delightfully, and has since become an emblem of unbridled joy on moodboards and memes alike.

Timely with Indian women’s performance at the Tokyo Olympics

By rethinking a classic like this, Mondelez and Ogilvy were taking a risk – and it paid off beautifully. In a world where women are still expected to let male careers take precedence, here is a man celebrating his female partner’s big moment – that too, at a game that has traditionally been dominated by men. The timing couldn’t have been more apt either, following the excellent performances of female athletes at the Tokyo Olympics that bore testimony to a woman’s physical prowess. And to evoke just the right amount of nostalgia, they kept the Shankar Mahadevan track and the dance choreography from the 1993 ad – creating an instant bridge with those who remember the original while also exciting a brand-new audience about how far Indian women have come. Topping it off, of course, is the timeless joy of biting into a Cadbury bar – the ultimate treat for celebrations of all kinds.

With the new Cadbury ad, we have received not only a refreshing twist on a classic, but also a reminder of how celebration knows no bounds. It is not enough to merely provide women with career opportunities – they need to be enabled to pursue those opportunities to the fullest through support from their employers, families and loved ones. Female athletes and sports teams often get sidelined in favour of their male counterparts, in terms of both viewership and media attention. And yet, a six is a six in cricket, whether the player holding the bat is a man or a woman. Through this ad – as with the original – Cadbury demonstrates the need for professions to put gender inclusivity front and centre. This means more opportunities for women to learn and grow, more leadership roles offered to them, and more public appreciation of the barriers they break and the great things they do.

Creativity that empowers ‘Word of Mouth’

Advertisements by big brands have the power to be forces for good, given the reach and influence that they have. To be inclusive in 2021 is to celebrate female achievements and also to demonstrate that women deserve to be feted regardless of their career choice and that men can and should be their loudest cheerleaders. Cadbury’s new ad hits the sweet spot on all these counts, while achieving the seemingly impossible task of being a remake as watchable as the original. Small wonder, therefore, that people on public forums everywhere are sharing the ad and bonding over their childhood memories and their hopes and dreams for female empowerment. Companies of all stripes now have a new gold standard for advertising goodwill – and with the right blend of creativity and PR smarts, they can accomplish just that.

Note: The author is a senior content writer with Star Squared PR, rated one of the fastest growing agencies in India.