Age UK: Cad­bury Donate Your Words’ cor­po­rate partnership

Exhibited by
Rebecca Broad
January 24, 2024
Medium of Communication
Chocolate bar wrappers, online, television
Target Audience
Type of Charity
Supporting people in later life
Country of Origin
Date of first appearance

SOFII’s view

It’s not often that a chocolate bar stops you in your tracks and makes you want to start talking (and donating) to a charity helping older people. But in this case study, you’ll discover how Age UK’s superbly executed brand and fundraising campaign raised both money and awareness in a clever, captivating, and caring way.

Creator / originator

Age UK, Cadbury and agency VCCP

Summary / objectives

Even before the UK public experienced lockdown, shielding and social distancing due to Covid-19, charity Age UK said: ‘There’s a crisis in the UK –1.4 million older people struggle with loneliness. 225,000 often go a whole week without speaking to anyone.’

To raise awareness of this crisis, Cadbury and Age UK created a partnership and a powerful campaign that would highlight the issue of loneliness amongst older people.

This was one of the first big charity campaigns for Cadbury, and when approaching Age UK, the company knew they really wanted to support in an original and authentic way.

Together they decided to ask the public to think about the number of older people who often go a whole week without speaking to anyone – inspiring them to take action by ‘donating their words’ to Age UK and the people they support. By doing so, they were able to raise awareness of a growing problem and raise vital funds for the Age UK. Keep reading to find out more.


For the first time ever the UK’s number one chocolate brand, Cadbury, offered to remove their key wording and branding from one million Dairy Milk chocolate bars. By doing so, they left only their iconic ‘spilling milk glasses’ on the front of their original, purple-coloured wrappers. On the reverse, they shared how the purchaser/donor could get involved and ‘donate your words’.

These bars were then sold across the country in all mainstream supermarkets and food outlets. They instantly made a big impression.

Without its usual wording, every limited-edition bar sold was literally donating its words. But best of all, 30p from each bar sold was going towards Age UK to help provide vital services and support when older people need it most.

No other brand had ever attempted something so outside the box and risky. Cadbury was making a huge statement and they proved to the nation that its iconic bars were recognisable even without their chocolate bar branding and taglines.

Cadbury knew that they weren’t going to wave a magic wand and diminish loneliness amongst older people, but they knew they were going to contribute to something much bigger.

Agency VCCP worked with Age UK and Cadbury to create the campaign, which included:

  • The chocolate bars
  • Television (TV) adverts
  • Print media
  • Social media (#donateyourwords)
  • Retail pop up experiences
  • Internal fundraising
  • A custom-built Facebook chatbot conversational interface

A moving television advert highlighted how valuable older people are to our society and how their life experiences and stories can have a real impact. It was totally relatable to many Cadbury customers, as it made them think about their relationships with their own older relatives, friends and neighbours. People took to social media to talk about this, and it opened up new conversations. This, no doubt, played an important role in the success of ‘Donate Your Words’.

The campaign was first released in 2019 and was extended until 2020.

You can view the advert here:


This partnership inspired over 460,000 people to ‘donate their words’ by committing to a small act of kindness for older people in their lives. And when it comes to fundraising, it helped raise over £300,000 so Age UK could be there for older people. This partnership also helped showcase the generosity of the Cadbury brand.

In fact, the success of ‘Donate Your Words’ led to two further campaigns between Age UK and Cadbury. But it also left a lasting legacy for Cadbury, who went on to work with other charities such as The Princes Trust with their ‘Give a Doubt’ initiative and The National Deaf Society with a campaign called ‘Sign with Fingers’.


When I spoke with Andrew Hunter (Head of Corporate Partnerships at Age UK from 2016 to 2020), he discussed how the partnership went beyond the public facing campaign. There was internal fundraising, site visits to Cadbury offices and real staff passion and engagement among the team at Age UK. To me, this serves to validate the partnership’s success.

Influence / impact

The campaign and partnership allowed many people across the UK to dig a little deeper into loneliness amongst older people. This ultimately resulted in many customers and supporters thinking about their local communities, family, friends, and neighbours. Many of them, even me, realised how this campaign was much closer to home then perhaps originally thought.

Final notes

Overall Age UK and Cadbury worked together in unison to create a campaign which had a lasting impact on its supporters and customers. The team took a leap of faith and achieved great fundraising results all while raising awareness for an issue that meant so much to the public (both during Covid-19 and beyond).

Editor’s note: To see Rebecca (Beck) explain why she loves this campaign, and how it got her thinking about older people within her own family, watch her winning seven-minute presentation from I Wish I’d Thought of That (IWITOT) 2023, below.

© IMAGES: From Rebecca Broad’s presentation

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During the campaign, branding was removed from Dairy Milk bars and the purchaser/donor was asked to ‘donate your words’ to Age UK. The charity received 30 pence for every bar sold.
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Former Age UK fundraiser Andrew Hunter was happy to talk about working on this campaign.
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An example of chocolate bar adverts used in the campaign.
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The public took to social media to share their thoughts on the campaign and stories about their loved ones.
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The campaign got Rebecca thinking about her own Grandad, Bill.
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‘Donate Your Words’ even let to future partnerships between Cadbury and other UK charities.