Brand Saga: Cadbury Bournvita, 7 decades of mastering confidence, taste & health

Sneha Yadav
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Cadbury Bournvita advertising journey

Cadbury Bournvita advertising journey is all about walking the talk & setting an example while delivering a perfect combination of taste & health.

Adulting has nothing to do with Bournvita because you can be an adult and still eat the malted chocolate powder without mixing it with milk. This week we trace the chocolaty Cadbury Bournvita advertising journey - the journey to associating the product with actions, commitment, and love.

The Origin

In 1879, Cadbury’s moved their business to Bournbrook Hall, 4 miles (6.4 km) to the South of Birmingham. The location was chosen as it was regarded as a cleaner, healthier, and more amenable to long-term expansion plans. Although rural, it was also already serviced by the new Stirchley Street railway station, which itself was located right next to the canal.


Cadbury’s named the area 'Bournville' after a local river named The Bourn (not to be confused with Bourn Brook, a similarly named local river for which the neighborhood of Bournbrook is named); with 'Ville' being French for 'town’.

With a view to offering benefits from their dark cocoa, Spanish chocolate, and more in 1930’s Cadbury launched a vitamin-ized drink from the house of Bournville. The place where it came from and the benefit it offered was fused to name the drink ‘BournVita’ a vitaminized drink from the house of Bournville. Bournvita was first manufactured and sold in Australia in 1933.

Today Bournvita is sold in India, Nepal, Bangladesh, Nigeria and some other parts of the world where Cadbury products are available.

Bournvita Saga Advertising Journey

It was in 1948 (the same year Cadbury India was established) when Bournvita was introduced into the Indian market. The natives were still settling down in the now independent Bharat and a few entrepreneurial minds looked at setting shops to suit the traditional Indian taste and customs by identifying the need gaps in the hinterland.


When Bournvita entered the country, the MFD (malted food drink) category was popular mainly in the milk deficient states of South India. Bournvita’s journey started out with category creation and from there the brand moved on to being a thought leader ruling hearts over the last 70+ years forming the Cadbury Bournvita advertising journey.


= Bournvita

In the initial years, the brand focused on the incredible ‘taste’ of chocolate and milk that it offered, marketed as malted and chocolate malt drink mixes with sugar as the majority constituent.

Since its inception, Bournvita placed itself as a ‘goodwill’ brand in the market by showing a product that helps in good upbringing. Earlier in 1970, they used the tagline: Goodness that Grow with You.

Over the years, the communication emphasized on a child’s growth years and how Bournvita came up with the much needed vitamins, carbohydrates, minerals, and proteins and carried the tagline- Takat Kuch Kar Dikhane Ki.  (P.S. Spot Varun Dhawan in the ad film)

As the competition grew and consumers became more involved in conscious buying decisions, Bournvita upped as a power drink induced with the right taste and health benefits. Moreover, the 70s positioned Bournvita as an enduring symbol of mental and physical well being.

Iron deficiency among Indians is very common. Bournvita fortified its drink with Iron in the '90s. This was a signature and the most distinctive characteristic of the brand.

The iron would homogenize with the milk during mixing. But since it’s a heavy particle, it would settle down at the bottom. Many kids would love to then lick this with a spoon as a ritual after their drink. This was a landmark campaign in the history of the brand where children from across the nation came forward to say how they loved to consume their favorite drink.

As the malted drink segment grew twofold, Bournvita faced stiff competition from brands such as Maltova, Boost (from GlaxoSmithKline), Complan (Heinz), and Nutramul (Amul). The pressure of competition eventually gave birth to Bournvita Quiz Contest in 1972 which initially aired on radio & later broadcasted on television. Bournvita advertising journey had created a milestone.


In the '80s the focus was shifted from 'Upbringing' to 'Intelligence' with the more aggressive "Brought upright, Bournvita bright" campaign, which was very successful during its time. Here, the brand spoke directly to mothers harping on good upbringing.


Bournvita was always about great taste and great nutrition. The duality of this benefit resulted in the campaign ‘Taan Ki Shakti, Maan ki shakti’ in the 90s. The iconic campaign showcased an athlete attempting a pole vault, marking the balance between physical and mental prowess.

Inderpreet Singh, Associate Director – Marketing (Gums, Candy & Beverages), Mondelēz India says, “Through the years, the brand has centered its communication on the bond between the parent and her child and has always been ahead of its time in terms of advocating progressive parenting practices. In the 90s, for example, the brand spoke of the need for confidence amongst kids as a way to realize their potential when all the category players were focused on highly functional messages such as a number of nutrients.”

In the late 90s, Bournvita roped in star cricketer Ajay Jadeja to endorse the brand putting the spotlight on kids and simultaneously introduced the ‘No Bournvita No Milk” proposition to reinforce the taste attribute. It communicated the health benefits: two cups of Bournvita every day for balanced nutrition. The communication deftly used an acronym, RDA (Recommended Dietary Allowance), to reflect the new positioning.

With an aim to reinvest in itself with the changing times, Bournvita donned a new avatar with a bold logo, better packaging, and trendy graphics. During the expansion in 2006, Cadbury introduced Bournvita 5 Star Magic, a new variant to add a novel flavor that would translate into identifiable taste with added fun for the consumers.

Bournvita, has time and again reinvented itself in terms of packaging, product, promotion, and distribution and changed its tune with the changing times.

The brand now needed to step up its positioning and offer something that caught millennial or the new age Indian child’s attention - Confidence. Making its the brand’s core essence, it realized that every kid has a chance to excel in his chosen field of endeavor if he has confidence. 2007 onwards the brand shifted gears to focus on its new tagline " Do you have Bournvita Confidence ".

The new Bournvita symbolized strength and confidence. Simultaneously, the brand teamed up with Sony TV to host the Bournvita Confidence Champion followed by a series of three testimonial ads wherein achievers from the Cadbury Bournvita Confidence Champion.

Later Bournvita Confidence Academy on Pogo, partnering with Cartoon Network characters like Power puff girl and Dexter, Bournvita did every bit to reach out to the potential consumers.

Taiyaari Jeet Ki

The 2011 Race film marked the launch of the ‘Tayyari Jeet Ki’ series in the Bournvita advertising journey. At a time when the category was fighting over tall claims of ingredients and nutrients, Bournvita shattered the mold and addressed what is at the heart of all parenting – Wanting a child to reach his maximum potential. And if that requires tough love then so be it.

Bournvita imbibed these parenting values and positioned itself as a mother’s partner in preparing her child for anything that life will throw his way.

Since then the preparation proposition has only grown from strength to strength, with the passing years.

Acing the revival attitude with evolving times, Bournvita was also quick to identify that different age has different needs and thereby went onto launch variants like Bournvita L’il Champs and Bournvita for Women.

Spinning different types of themes for different age groups, Cadbury Bournvita realized the needs of specific ages like mind growth, physical growth, and all-round development and worked on introducing products for each consumer segment.

Also Read: Social Media Strategy Review: Bournvita

Ogilvy & Cadbury Bournvita: A match made in heaven

Ogilvy & Mather has been the agency on record for Cadbury Bournvita since 1952 ad the bond has only grown stronger reflecting through the brand communication over the years.

Its been 70 years of trust, confidence, weaving award-winning campaigns, timely revamps, breakthrough creative ideas, and brilliant execution that has stood the test of time for the client and agency of 7 decades.

Commenting on the journey so far, Kainaz Karmakar & Harshad Rajadhyaksha, Chief Creative Officers, Ogilvy India, share, “When a contemporary brand is as historically important as Bournvita, without a doubt it enjoys a rich legacy. We, along with our team have been creating communication for this brand for about 5 years now. We consider it a privilege that we get to play a significant part in this rich legacy and partnership, which has been a matter of pride for both Cadbury and Ogilvy."

“It is heartening to know that the ‘Bournvita Mom’, without us even labeling her so, has become a beacon of inspiration to so many of our consumers across the nation. Her tough love towards her child’s goals and absolute investment in them has been a welcome and defining depiction of mothers in our times,” they add.

The creative duo further hails the client team, who are partners in the agency’s communication endeavors in the truest sense. “Only when we share the same drive and passion for pushing the work, magic like this happens,” both exclaim.

Some common threads we see across its journey are in fact, category stereotypes beautifully redefined into narratives that have been ahead of their time:

Confident children chasing pursuits and passions beyond marks – be it the almost Famous Five like the narrative of Brought up Right, or the fusion of western and classical in Jugalbandi ad from the Confidence academy series or a gymnast chasing his personal best and more recently a girl outwitting her opponents in the Kabbadi film.

Mothers who seek the best for their children, just like all moms do, but what sets Bournvita moms apart is her approach to parenting. The conversation looks inward into the family, explores dynamics between the parent and child where she seeks to help him reach the best of his potential. Societal benchmarks do not have a place in the Bournvita world.

Over the years, the brand has always highlighted its partnership with milk accelerating the core messaging through known faces like Kareena Kapoor Khan, Kajol, and Rohit Sharma.



The MFD category builds on the hyper-competitive world that society forces upon parents and children, where coming first and breasting the tape is the only measure of success.

In 2017, Bournvita took a strong counter-culture stance against the rising importance attached to grades with its ‘Principal’ film. Since then, the brand has carried out Social Experiments where it questions society and parents on using the myopic yardsticks of academics to label children.

Focus on Immunity

The last few months have seen us reconsider the very essence of most routines we take for granted. Everything that once required us to step out of our homes has been restructured and reset. Education and play; the two things most essential to children’s growth are amongst these.

The very definition of things that mom's worry about for their children changed forever. Health has always been a priority for moms, but the last quarter has seen it become sharply focused on Immunity.

Moms realize that despite all the measures taken to sanitize and keep our surroundings safe, the only real defense against the virus is Immunity and they cannot hold back children indefinitely.

This pandemic is yet another learning phase for children and there is a pressing need to keep them strong while we tide this over. Hence Bournvita's reassurance of an immunity nutrient bundle helps sustains a child's Immunity.

The fight against the pandemic is very real, and all that Cadbury Bpurnvita and Ogilvy seek to do through their narrative is reassure and stand by mother's in their fight to sustain her child's Immunity.

“It is rare for a brand to have consistently over the years advocated a singular brand purpose which is “to be the partner to the Mum in getting her child to realize his true potential”. It is a source of great pride for us to be managing the brand’s communication & business and also a great responsibility. We are privileged to be working with an equally passionate and proficient team in Ogilvy,” says Singh.

The digital journey

Taking a quick glance through Cadbury Bournvita's digital presence, we discover that although the brand has created profiles on platforms like Twitter, Instagram and Facebook, it is the most actve on YouTube while the other platforms act as as the supporting crew.

A few posts revolve around their latest ambassador Rohit Sharma and how he looked beyond marks to get focus on his inner strength.

The brand is also seen catching up on some moment marketing trends, promoting DIY recipes of Bournvita and Bournvita for Women series through its pages online.

Between ‘Tann Ki Shakti Mann Ki Shakti’ to ‘Do You have a Bournvita Confidence’ we all grew up.  It won’t be wrong to say that Bournvita advertising journey is an example of how solid communication and storytelling can consistently build brand lasting decades.

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