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The resurrection of Wispa

Cadbury Schweppes stopped making its Wispa chocolate bar four years ago due to flagging sales. Over the summer, after massive noise from customers on FaceBook and YouTube called for its return, the company announced it would re-introduce the chocolate bar to the UK this month (October).

Nearly 14,000 people joined ‘bring back Wispa’ groups on Facebook, ‘This is the first time that the power of the Internet played such an intrinsic role in the return of a Cadbury brand,’ the company said.

A spokesman for Wolff Olins, the design and branding consultants, noted: ‘It took discarding the brand for people to really want it. This is a good example of consumers owning the brand, versus the corporation.’

So who owns your brand? Some marketing analysts now recommend that Cadbury hand over ‘ownership’ of the brand positioning for Wispa bars to this customer community of 14,000, to maintain the customer loyalty and sense of ownership of the brand they have built up. Any lessons there for you to think about?

Scott Bedbury, the brand guru who was in charge of marketing at Nike and Starbucks during both those companies’ most spectacular growth periods, says one of the biggest blind spots organizations have is the idea that they own their own brand. In fact, he says, you have very little control over your own brand as it lives ‘out there’ in your customers’ heads. The resurrection of Wispa is a perfect example of that this month.

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