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Cadbury 5Star: The 11-year-old journey of ‘Ramesh-Suresh wali’ chocolate

Think of Cadbury 5Star and the funny faces of Ramesh and Suresh come alive. Each time they get lost in the flavour of the chocolate, while the world around them twists and turns. A look at the two iconic characters who have built a recall value for the brand

Cadbury 5Star: The 11-year-old journey of ‘Ramesh-Suresh wali’ chocolate

Think of Cadbury 5Star and the funny faces of Ramesh and Suresh come alive. Each time they get lost in the flavour of the chocolate, while the world around them twists and turns. A look at the two iconic characters who have built a recall value for the brand

Akansha Mihir Mota | Mumbai | November 3, 2016

Cadbury-Ramesh-Suresh Click on the Image to watch the TVC.

A six-year-old girl goes to a shop and asks for the ‘Ramesh-Suresh wali’ chocolate, instead of Cadbury 5Star. Where people can’t read or write, they ask for the ‘Ramesh-Suresh’ chocolates. This is the kind of recall value that the Cadbury 5Star’s goofy looking characters bring to the brand. It hardly takes nano of a second for any Indian to recollect the brand from these two mischievous looking boys who have kept the brand going.

These two have set an example in the advertising and marketing industry how characters of an ad can bring along with them great brand recall. One can also gauge the success of the Ramesh-Suresh campaigns by the number of jokes that went viral sometime back.

Prashant Peres, Director, Marketing (Chocolates), Mondelez India, is quite happy with Ramesh-Suresh’s association with the brand. Character-driven marketing has worked extremely well for the brand and hence the company plans to stick to the Ramesh-Suresh association going forward. He said, “Eccentric and quirky characters, Ramesh and Suresh have helped the brand generate strong cut through and continue to be much loved by consumers. Ramesh and Suresh have become synonymous with Cadbury 5Star.”

The audience identifies with characters that are part of a storyline. And that’s how a culture of jokes and references forms around commercials featuring them. Often, these characters reappear in different variations of the same storyline. After a humorous or engaging character is created, one quickly identifies with that character’s message. When that character reappears in another commercial, people recognise that character and pay attention.

As per Nielsen MS YTD September 2016, Cadbury 5Star product dominates the count line segment in the Indian chocolate category with approximately 67 per cent share of the count line segment. It’s a success in India for more than 40 years, that now Cadbury 5Star brand has been launched in global markets like Brazil, Philippines, Malaysia and South Africa.

Launched in 1969, Cadbury 5Star's brand positioning over the years has evolved to suit changing consumer behaviours to adapt to today's present times. Initially, Cadbury 5Star denoted togetherness, hunger, energy, irresistible and soft chew. This has however transformed over time and currently Cadbury 5Star epitomises the sensation of being 'Lost in Taste' – a luxury for consumers given the demanding times we live in. Cadbury 5Star still continues to be a novel concept in the chocolate world.

The brand's current proposition, 'Jo khaaye kho jaaye', has been portrayed through the moronic brothers in the Ramesh-Suresh series. Ever since the crazy siblings made their debut as lead protagonists in the Cadbury 5Star television commercial back in 2006, the two have won lakhs of hearts for their crazy antics. In fact, the company also signed a contract with the actors Rana Pratap Senger and Goldie Dugga (Ramesh and Suresh) last year, for the same.

Explaining the communication agenda, Prashant Peres, Director, Marketing (Chocolates), Mondelez India, said, “The larger purpose for Cadbury 5Star marketing communication is to elevate it from being a familiar friend to being an urban youth symbol.”

Also, mentioning the target audience, Peres said, “The brand’s target segment has always been young Indian adults. Cadbury 5Star is an iconic youth brand which connects with youth through entertaining stories of Ramesh and Suresh getting 'lost in the taste of Cadbury 5Star’.”

Timeline of the Ramesh-Suresh funny ads

No intellectual message, no satire, focused directly on the product concept, yet so entertaining and catchy, is what can describe the ad campaigns.

Elaborating on the first brief of the Ramesh and Suresh campaigns, Amitabh Agnihotri, Senior Creative Director, Ogilvy & Mather, India, said, “The first brief came from the product insight that Cadbury 5Star is an involving eat. Because each bite is fulsome and chewy, it's not a quick eat and it 'consumes' you. And when you are so involved in one thing you may forget about other things. Hence the brief – ‘Lost in the taste of Cadbury 5Star’ and the tagline – ‘Jo khaye, kho jaaye’”.

The 'Jo khaye, kho jaaye' series began in 2005/06 with the 'Caravan' TVC. The first campaign had three characters in the storyline. Later, the concept of the ad was changed and it moved on to only two main characters. Senger and Dugga (Ramesh and Suresh) were the part of the first campaign too, but back then, they didn’t have a name to identify themselves.

Caravan campaign:


Then it moved on to the next cut of 'Jo khaye, kho jaaye' with the 'Pickpocket' TVC which was about -- 'Cadbury 5star eaters are a lost bunch, so don't take advantage of their lost state, help them.'

In 2010 when the agency did the 'Shopkeeper'-Ramesh and Suresh commercial, director Prasoon Pandey, after a little bit of initial auditions for actors, decided to cast the same duo from 'Caravan' as Ramesh and Suresh as they fit the profile beautifully.

In 2010 it was decided to drop the 'Help 5Star eaters' angle and do a completely fresh proposition of ‘Jo khaye kho jaaye’. It was only then the two characters were given the identity of Ramesh and Suresh. The campaign had two TVCs -- 'Shopkeeper (2010)' and 'Tailor (2011)' -- in which Ramesh and Suresh eat 5Star and forget what they’re doing and keep repeating the same thing again and again. That campaign was the birth of Ramesh and Suresh, and the beginning of their journey.

Shopkeeper campaign:


Tailor campaign:


After the success of the tailor and the shopkeeper ad films, the brand realised that the concept has worked for them and adhered to the theme since then. “However, there was a third script in the campaign. After making 'Tailor' we thought the cut of Ramesh-Suresh ‘repeating-things' had run its course, so we didn't do the third film in that campaign,” added Agnihotri.

On the insight, Agnihotri further said, “Creative insight in the first Ramesh and Suresh campaign was 'short-term memory loss'. In the 'Shopkeeper' and the 'Tailor' commercials, Ramesh and Suresh get lost in the taste of 5Star and keep repeating things with a hilarious result in the end.”

Ever since 2011’s Tailor and the Shopkeeper TVC, the brief has almost remained same. Agnihotri added, “We give each campaign a new look through the stories and jokes. Since the 'Bank robbery' TVC last year, our stories have a positive outcome which show Ramesh and Suresh becoming heroes at the end, kind of accidentally.”

Bank robbery campaign:


Continuing the 11-year-long legacy, the brand came out with 'Vacation' TVC, adding a layer of 'extra lost' because the product now has more caramel. The ad gives the duo a much cooler look.

Latest Ramesh-Suresh Vacation campaign:


Commenting on the success of the campaign concept, Agnihotri said, “The huge success of these two TVCs established Ramesh and Suresh as household names. 5Star became one of the top 10 youth brands in India in 2011 and 2012, there was no reason to not continue with them after that.”


Execution of the ad films adding on to the fun quotient

It’s not an easy task to bring out the qualities of a product as a part of the storyline. It requires some great direction and treatment to an ad film, which can turn it into a classic humorous example like Ramesh-Suresh. Corcoise Productions is the one behind the execution of the campaign and a few films are executed by Curious Films.

Talking about how the production house and the agency zeroed in on Ramesh and Suresh, Cyrus Pagdiwala, Executive Producer, Corcoise Films, said, “We were always looking for goofy guys and not the regular model types. When we got them on board, nobody knew that these characters would continue over a period of 10 years. Today a celebrity star doesn’t continue the campaign for more than four years. These guys have outlived any celebrity association with the brand.”

Pagdiwala shared that they have a lot of fun while shooting the films. Generally, the shoot takes two days and then in about 20 days, the ad film takes shape. “We work really hard to get quirks out of the actors. Sometimes we keep the camera on and pretend that the camera is off to get the reactions for which they are not ready.”

Ramesh and Suresh have been at the heart of Cadbury 5Star commercials and will continue entertaining viewers with their rib-tickling, innocent antics which see them unintentionally doing good while immersed in the deliciousness of a Cadbury 5Star. The brand has set an exemplary example of consistent investment in long-term brand building.

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