Cadburys Perk Zombie TVC produced by Ogilvy and Mather in Pakistan and directed by Asim Raza is a sequel to the Gorilla ad which made the rounds sometimes back.

Cadbury Perk Zombie TVC

No I don’t think the ad is awesome by any stretch of the imagination. But I believe it could have been by just a few tweaks here and there. No, I won’t go into getting the dance steps right or the issue of copying from popular culture.

Btw, isn’t that song copyrighted? Did Cadbury actually pay for using it or is it just a case of Pakistani-copying-Indians and Indians-copying-Pakistani intellectual stuff without giving a goddamn penny to the creator?

And if they did pay for it, then it must have been loads of moolah. In that case, couldn’t the creative come up with something that didn’t jack up the cost of the ad production because of royalty payment?

The gorilla ad was awesome and Cadbury Perk Zombie TVC is not. And only because the creative team hasn’t learnt jack from their past glory.

What was so great about that ad was while some people loved it, it managed to infuriate other people like that girl Farheen who wrote this venomous post, and she got other people talking about it. That’s stupendous for brand awareness and recall. The Zombie ad, people wouldn’t care either way.


When you’re going for humor or even a bit of cheekiness, you’ve got to inject an element of surprise to get the WOW out of the target audience, whoever they maybe. In the Gorilla ad, that was achieved by the sudden transformation of the prospective girl into a gorilla, and no one saw it coming. That got the audience to sit up and take notice. And not just teenagers.

Just imagine if instead of the visual transformation, they had put an arrow on top of the girl with the text saying ‘she has turned into a gorilla now, so imagine it! ‘Wouldn’t have worked, right?

That’s precisely what the Cadbury Perk Zombie TVC has done wrong. Instead of actually showing the actors all made up like ghouls and ghosts, they’ve shown them just enacting the zombie dance and expecting the audience to imagine them as zombies in their mind’s eye.

Yes, ads and movies rely on exaggeration to get their point across, but there’s always an element of believability embedded to get the balance right, especially the human reactions to the exaggerated sequence. Again referring to the gorilla ad, the prospective groom and his family are scared out of their wits when they see the girl turn into a gorilla. Fair enough.

In the Cadbury Perk Zombie TVC, the stern librarian gets scared because her good-for-nothing students who she has reprimanded a while ago start dancing? You gotta be kidding me!

And that also in the same freakin clothes? Couldn’t Ogilvy and Cadbury spare some budget for a change of clothes? Wouldn’t have cost that much, considering that you only needed rags to represent ghouls, might even have snatched them from a beggar.


And if you contend by saying that this ad is made for teenagers for whom it is believable, then I’m afraid the strategy and creative people are out of tune with the average intelligence level of today’s tween, let alone a teenager.


Finally, there’s still something lacking, it’s still predictable even after the donning of ghoulish outfit and make-up – the element of surprise – the real kicker which sets apart great humor from the mundane.

In this case, that could have been the librarian being a real ghost/vampire/zombie herself who shows her true colours right at the climax of the ad. Now that would have evoked a WOW from the audience.


The problem with us is we get carried away so much by our remarkable successes that don’t analyze what went right and what didn’t with a campaign so that we can emulate the success formula. And it’s a national problem that permeates even the cricket team. Remember how Pakistan’s batting crumbled against S.Africa in T20 world cup and because Umar Gul saved the day, the real issues were swept under the carpet, and then they reared their ugly head in the match against India and Sri Lanka.


Ok the bottom-line: yes, the Cadbury Perk Zombie TVC may well deliver the results it was supposed to. But what if with the few tweakings proposed, the ad spewed out awesome results that went through the roof, so much so that instead of a single laughing trip to the bank, it resulted in a constant stream of hysterical visits to the bank by virtue of  Cadbury commissioning Ogilvy to churn out a half-dozen such ads over the next year or so, and other brands getting Ogilvy to do the same. Now that for me is CREATIVITY.


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