Once upon a time, Wieden + Kennedy Amsterdam created a fairy-tale campaign for Mondelēz's Milka chocolate brand.
Set in the idyllic, magical Alpine hamlet of "Lilaberg," the ads consolidate Milka's candy and biscuit categories under the theme "Tenderness is inside."
A pair of commercials feature impressive visuals and fanciful story lines. The spots almost resemble children's books come to life—or Pixar interpretations of fables for kids. Fanciful details abound, including cats on every rooftop and a purple cow (Lila, the brand mascot, after whom Lilaberg is named).
In the clip below, set at the town's colorful carnival celebration, "The Strongman" proves he's really just a big softie—tender-hearted, you might say—bonding with a young fan whose confidence needs boosting:
Finish your candy bar, Junior, and you'll grow up big and strong like Gustavus!
"We wanted to create a timeless Alpine world, a self-contained microcosm of interesting characters and places," Daniel Schaefer, W+K creative director, tells AdFreak. "We wanted to create a world that feels truthful and relatable to people. Some people have asked us if Lilaberg actually exists. It doesn't. That's exactly the feeling that we wanted to create."
There's some nice continuity between "The Strongman" and the second ad, "The Biscuit Jar." Here, a young girl who briefly appears in the first commercial takes the starring role:
Watch out, those whimsical ceramic cake canisters will murder us all! (Unless they're full, in which case they'll probably just take a nap.)
"The biggest challenge was to find a place that could bring our vision of a timeless sun-drenched Alpine village to life," Schaefer says. "Not an easy feat when you have to shoot in October and the Alps are wet, dark and grim. So, ironically, due to our shoot window, we had to go all around the world to New Zealand to find our typical Alpine scenery."
Hobby Film director Vesa Manninen does a fine job of bringing Milka's fantasy world to life in the campaign, now breaking in Central and Eastern Europe as the first phase of a global multimedia rollout.
Overall, the approach is charming and relatable, if perhaps a bit sugary for some viewers.
The team went out of its way to include Lila, "a so-called Simmental cow, a very special breed from Switzerland, so naturally quite hard to find in New Zealand," Schaefer says. "Fortunately, we were able to find Willow on a remote farm around Christchurch—a bit of a diva but a total superstar."
And they lived happily ever after!
Vice President, Marketing Communication and Brand Equity, Global Chocolate Category Team: Phillip Chapman
Global Milka Equity Director: Karine Chik
Milka Europe Marketing Director: Celine Berg (chocolate only)
Milka Europe Equity Manager: Martha Miralles (chocolate only)
Milka Europe Brand Activation Manager: Charlotte de Laleu (chocolate only)
Milka Europe Marketing Director: Ira Shandaryvska (biscuits only)
Milka Europe Treat Biscuits Base and Equity Marketing Lead: Charles-Henri Cassala (biscuits only)
Milka Europe Chocobakery Base and Equity Manager: Caroline Baume (biscuits only)
Agency: Wieden + Kennedy, Amsterdam
Executive Creative Directors: Mark Bernath, Eric Quennoy
Creative Directors: Szymon Rose, Daniel Schaefer
Art Director: Jordi Luna
Copywriter: Scott Smith
Head of Broadcast Production: Joe Togneri
Executive Producer: Tony Stearns
Head of Planning: Martin Weigel
Group Account Director: Clare Pickens
Account Director: Eleanor Thodey
Account Managers: Elianne Vermeulen (TV), Yulia Prokhorova (Print)
Studio Artist: Noa Redero
Project Manager: Janna Harrington
Business Affairs: Emilie Douque
Production Company: Hobby Film
Director: Vesa Manninen
Director of Photography: Franz Lustig
Executive Producer: Tom Rickard
Producers: Anna Bergström, Frederic Rinnan
Editing Company: Work Editorial
Editors: Mark Edinoff, Rachael Spann
Audio Post: Wave London
Sound Designer, Mixer: Aaron Reynolds
Music Artist: Phil Kay
Music Company: Woodwork Music
Lead 2-D Artists: Bill McNamara, Toya Dreschler
Lead 3-D Artist: Tim Van Hussen
Colorist: Jean-Clement Soret
Producer: Sophie Hogg
Photographer: Marcus Gaab