Creative Process Emotion AI Media Analytics

Cadbury Egg Controversy: How Emotion AI Helps Understand Strong Reactions to Brand Content



Cadbury Chocolate’s Golden Goobilee advertising celebrates their classic Crème Egg and the many ways to devour it. One of the scenes from the ad featuring a same sex couple “sharing” the chocolate treat sparked controversy, leading to a petition calling to ban the advertisement for sexualized content. The petition, with over 26,000 signatures, received backlash from many LGBTQ+ supporters standing against the homophobic sentiment of the proposed ban.

CloudArmy and Affectiva deployed neuro implicit metrics and Emotion AI technology to test the Cadbury’s Crème Egg Golden Goobilee ad in the UK among 200 chocolate eaters, revealing their unfiltered and unbiased moment-by-moment responses throughout the ad. The data revealed that consumers showed disgust throughout the ad for reasons unrelated to the two men intimately sharing the Crème Egg.

What is the Cadbury Creme Egg Controversy?

Cadbury Egg Golden Gooblie Advertisement

The Cadbury Crème Egg is an egg-shaped confectionery chocolate shell with a thick fondant center made to look exactly like a real egg with the yolk inside. Each year, Cadbury launches an Easter campaign to promote the Crème Egg, and this year, the Golden Goobilee ad definitely caused a stir. 

One of the areas in creative and ad testing is the hefty emotional component, and in this advert’s case, the controversy as well. The combination of facial expressions from Affectiva and wider implicit testing through Cloud Army highlights both Type 1 (intuitive) & Type 2 (intentional) responses. This integrated Cloud Army approach included survey questions, a fast choice task, an implicit task and Affectiva’s facial coding to measure in-the-moment emotional reactions. 

The 26,000 petitioners that aimed to ban the ad is an interesting example for us to take a look at and see if the general population was offended or just a slight minority. Further, how did viewers respond once they’ve considered and reflected on the content, but also intuitively and instinctively in the moment while watching?

The results 26,000 petitioners didn’t expect

The implicit measure did highlight negative responses at certain scenes of the ad, for example, during the “sharing” vignettes. However, these negative responses were not necessarily because of the intimacy of the couple scene, but rather people were repulsed by the explicit eating behaviors showcased in the ad.

Eating with your mouth open, sharing food with pets, finger-licking, and sharing directly with others are all attributes for “yumminess vs. yuckiness” at a deeper implicit level. When exploring the data, it was important to recognize that the COVID-19 factor likely also played a role in these negative emotional reactions towards sharing directly with others and licking your fingers, even if it is with delicious chocolate confectionery. 

Focusing on the smile and brow furrow metrics (see image below), we can deduce from the data the notable decrease in the smile and increase in brow furrow at the dipping and licking ad shot. In other words, the data indicates emotional discomfort through participants’ facial expressions.


The intimate sharing scene featuring a same sex couple, actually lays the ground for sustained growth in emotional positivity, with consumers feeling good through the resolution scenes at the end of the copy. There is simply no immediate or emotional ‘shock’ at the scenes, either upon reflection, or as seen here ‘in the moment’ emotionally as the scene was being experienced. In summary, chocolate lovers watching the Cadbury’s ad were not experiencing any kind of ‘in the moment’ negative reaction to the intimate sharing scenes.

What’s next for Affectiva & CloudArmy?

The integration of Affectiva’s moment-by-moment Emotion AI technology and CloudArmy’s neuroscience-powered implicit methodologies provides brand owners with a unique ability to capture a comprehensive picture of both implicit and explicit consumer emotions. These insights provide creatives with a more precise view of the effectiveness of their designs and equip brands with solutions to previously difficult-to-answer questions.

The CloudArmy and Affectiva collaboration is just getting started — there are already plans to look beyond ad testing to explore different ways of doing things and continuing to improve and further integrate technologies. There are numerous industry sectors to explore, such as education content testing, experiential work, sensory work, podcasts, and emotionally-charged content testing. Our combined solutions provide scalability, no barrier to entry, and significantly lower cost and both technologies definitely have a role to play there. It’s a journey of discovery and this partnership offers a new world of possibilities!

Interested in learning about the value that our joint technologies bring? Contact us!

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Creative Process Emotion AI Media Analytics