thanks vml: cadbury’s bargain snapple website

The more I hear about them, the more I think that Cadbury Schweppes Beverages really gets it.

They had a huge viral win with the Dr Pepper Cherry Chocolate Rain video; so far the video has had over a million and a half views and it only cost $200,000. Not to mention how the video positively positioned the Dr Pepper trademark.

A reader comments that Cherry Chocolate Rain is not the only bargain the Cadbury has gotten lately.

Apparently, the very slick new website by VML for Snapple was created for the I-bought-it-on-eBay cost of $250,000.


At least, that is what it cost Cadbury:

“This website costs over a million to produce, but only costs Cadbury $250,000. Why the overage the company had to eat? EGOS, EGOS, EGOS. . . creative egos swell at VML and they wrote a check that the developers couldn’t cash. The website you see is held together with spit and wire – the developers did a good job making it work. The creative director (Tony Sneethen) cost the company hundreds of thousands of dollars. It was a fiasco of epic status at VML.”

I am stupefied that VML would have proposed a site like Snapple’s with a budget of $250,000. And the fact that Cadbury was able to hold their feet to the fire and make them actually create what they pitched…well, that gets you a site this good that cheap.

I usually fall on the agency’s side of the production cost argument – I think that clients need to understand that the things they are asking for, especially last-minute changes, have a cost associated with them. Clients must be willing to adjust their budget if they adjust the scope of a project.

However, I have also been in the room when agencies have promised the world on a shoe-string budget to win the job (or because they don’t realize just how much work will go into the project – which is Bozo the Clown’s usual m.o. on digital), and then furiously backpedal when it comes time to pay the piper.

If you pitch it, you have to be able to execute it.

If you lose money executing something you’ve promised, well, you get called out on an industry blog (among other things).

Good job, VML. You get this upside-down EFFIE for ineffectiveness in managing a budget:



6 responses to “thanks vml: cadbury’s bargain snapple website

  1. Wow! Fantastic!
    I’ve got no idea how a web design can be so expensive!
    —after go to snapple—
    Wow… Really flashy!

  2. …for $250,000 I wouldn’t think I’d have to wait 2 minutes for it to load with a DSL connection. 🙂

    We’ve faced many issues in the past with going over budget on projects and after about 5 years of doing it… we finally put processes in place to prevent it. Unfortunately it took us a bit too long to figure it out and only about a month to correct it. Oh well!

  3. I found the load to be slow too, but just put it down to Bozo the Clown downloading oodles of porn and slowing down our whole network. I guess that wasn’t it. For once.

  4. I have personally worked with the leadership team at VML that was responsible for the Snapple website. In fact, I am no longer a client of theirs because of that team. VML knows what they are doing, but can’t get the process together long enough to deliver. Chuck Searle is an up and coming account executive the Cadbury team and can’t manage a project with both hands. That Snapple website should have cost 150,000 but due to egos and unaccountability on Searles team, its a wonder it got finished for 1m.

    I have since moved on to another agency for my digital needs and left VML to slowly over process itself to death. I am saving tens of thousands per year and get far better and more strategic product. I actually wonder if VML finally figured out why their clients leave? I can tell you from experience it is the management (or lack thereof).


  5. Pingback: oops, we forgot the website! « the daily (ad) biz

  6. Hello~
    I was curious where you got the figure for the cost of the Cherry Chocolate Diet Dr Pepper video campaign. You said it cost $200,000. From what source?
    K. Jo

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