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Special Project

Special Project
From the 16th Annual Shorty Awards

Cadbury Narrates the Next Chapter in Literacy Education

Finalist in Social Good Campaign


South Africa has been facing the worst childhood literacy crisis in modern history. Despite having 11 official languages, children are compelled to learn in English which is not the mother tongue for 91% of them. Only 2% of children’s books are published in local languages making learning for meaning more challenging. According to Stats SA, only 50% of families engage in reading with children at home.

As a brand that truly embraces generosity, we launched a campaign that was aimed at continuing to inspire generosity in our nation, with an emphasis on supporting families in reading together at home, making an impact on childhood literacy and family time, whilst also driving brand engagement, differentiation, meaning and sales.

Strategy and Execution

Strategically, adding our ‘Glass and a Half” of generosity to the literacy crisis meant bringing to life a more modern, exciting, and progressive way for families to connect over reading out loud and reading along at home. 

In creating this exciting new possibility of reading for both adults and children, we developed a one-of-a-kind technological experience, that would inspire and reignite a love for reading. The experience was centred around literacy, localisation, and connecting families through quality time.

In understanding the literacy challenges adults are posed with, our intervention sought to support parents in overcoming their own personal barriers, making reading together more uplifting and bonding as an experience for the family.

With this, The Cadbury Generosity Storytime Studio was born. A first-of-its-kind, Pop-Up and Digitally- Led Audiobook Recording Studio. The tech-enabled studio travelled countrywide and engaged families to generously “Give A Voice to Storytime”, by narrating a homegrown story that could convert to an audiobook to be shared with all families through the Cadbury Virtual Homegrown Audio Library.

The campaign took literacy education into the convergence of physical and digital experiences - we gave families the opportunity to generously narrate their stories at our activations, in addition, all families could then access these stories for reading at home.

Story narrations were captured through custom-built soundproof booths with professional recording equipment.

As families generously shared their stories, our sophisticated technology on mobile devices in the booths, crafted the homegrown narration into a digital version that would be converted into audiobooks within minutes.  These audiobooks could immediately be shared with the participant, and simultaneously uploaded into the Cadbury Virtual Library of Homegrown Audiobooks, accessible to all families.

Our method of crowdsourcing audiobooks was especially effective in supporting our cause in numerous ways:

  1. Parents of lower literacy would be able to read along with their child, using the aid of the audiobook, making reading together out loud less intimidating.
  2. By giving lower-income families exposure to this exceptional global tech-trend, we enabled them the opportunity to reignite the desire and love for reading in the home. In addition, audiobooks were more cherished by children when narrated in familiar voices of their own parents and themselves, making reading more comforting and celebrated.
  3. We were able to capture homegrown story narrations in all 11 official languages and in local accents to accommodate the wide variety of South African cultural and local contexts, making the initiative more inclusive and relatable to all.

In so doing, ordinary South African families got to create something iconic and become real-life voice artists with personal and nationally published audiobooks. We effectively made reading out loud a more new-age exciting experience. This marked a turning point for digitisation of personal acts of generosity and upliftment in literacy education for communities.


The 3-year campaign was successful beyond our imagination. Together with the Department of Education, we measured a significant improvement in literacy outcomes in schools. We also achieved groundbreaking brand engagement with communities and exceptional business results. 

This was achieved through strong diversity and inclusivity focus in literacy education, inclusion in language and cultural contexts, and innovative use of technology. 

Business results:

•           700% increase in sales

•           6.7% growth in value share 

•           From 159 (2021) – 162 (2023) increase in brand meaning

•           From 98 (2021) – 102 (2023) increase in brand difference

•           0.7% increase in brand power making CDM the strongest brand in the chocolate category

Record-breaking activation impact:

•           244 8914 unique participants reached

•           12 527 recorded audiobooks by more than 12 500 families

•           1 099 422 minutes of family time invested in the studio

•           49 580 clicks into the Virtual library to listen & read at home

•           99% Earned positive PR sentiment Reach of 2.34 million.

We measured a significant social impact:

•           12 527 voices shared.

•           103% increase in reading comprehension in schools

•           215% increase in frequency of reading at home 

The learnings from our case study inspired the Department of Basic Education to phase in new literacy education methods, in an effort to improve public school education. 

By applying a glass and a half of generosity, Cadbury together with the people of South Africa have created a new legacy for the future of literacy and education. 




Video for Cadbury Narrates the Next Chapter in Literacy Education

Entrant Company / Organization Name

Triple 8, Mondelez


Entry Credits