Contact: Judy Kalvin

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Contact: Judy Kalvin

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ertie’s Back

Bertie Bassett Bows in U.K. Ads and Appears across Global Packaging after full-scale Character Revamp
Portland, OR – August 19, 2003 -- What do you do when your most enduring brand asset is a character? And not just any character, but an enduring symbol of British culture for the past 75 years? That character is Bertie Bassett, The Licorice Allsorts man. Cadbury Trebor Bassett’s intent: to make Bertie Bassett the figurehead for not just Licorice Allsorts, for which he is most famous, but the entire Bassett’s range of sweets. Bassett’s comprises over 25 products with sales of around $193 million a year.
Reversing the usual process whereby brand characters are seen as tactical advertising vehicles, Cadbury decided to use Bertie as the fulcrum to reposition and relaunch the entire Bassetts brand. To help realize this strategy, Cadbury brought in Character, a Portland, Oregon based firm that specializes in revitalizing brand characters around the world. Character’s approach combines tools from the worlds of marketing and entertainment to find the authentic story at the heart of the brand and craft the character’s story around it. The process began with a "Character Camp" where the team used improvisational theatre techniques to understand how Bertie should work as a character in order to best convey the spirit of the brand.

A Bertie Bassett Character ‘SourceBook’ was written after Camp to fully articulate how Bertie embodies the metaphors and fundamental truths of the brand, and how he can be brought to life in all the ways the Bassetts brand touches its consumers. “Bertie embodies what’s unique and lovable about the Bassetts brand,” says Brian Lanahan, Director of Strategy, Character. “Bertie should be playing center stage, and now he finally is.”

Bertie Bassett: a greater role

Bertie’s story is being used to inspire and guide executions in advertising for the relaunch of the brand in the U.K. A series of 40, 30, and 10-second television spots will initially run from August 11 until October. A global packaging redesign will roll out during the fourth quarter of the year and will include such well-known brands as Jelly Babies and Murray Mints.
Comments Jason Ash, Brand Manager, Cadbury, “To millions of people Bertie Bassett is a real character made of sweets. The move to build on Bertie’s personality, as well as his brand icon status, is a logical one, reflecting his huge and diverse depth in character. His new look may be a surprise to some, but will also strike a chord with everyone who has grown up with Bertie and appreciates his ‘human’ side.”
Bertie in everyday life

The TV ads depict the new computer animated Bertie in everyday life and reveal his core dilemma – he tries to live a normal life and just fit in, but he’s only five inches tall and his body parts are Licorice Allsorts. Advertising is through Euro RSCG Wnek Gosper.

Bassett’s Licorice Allsorts and Bertie Bassett – a sweet history

Bassett’s Licorice Allsorts were created by accident in 1899. Bassett’s salesman Charlie Thompson was discussing an order with a customer when a tray of samples was accidentally knocked over, scattering his sweets everywhere. The buyer liked the look of the mixed up confectionery, placed an order, and Bassett’s Licorice Allsorts was born.

Bertie came into being on January 1, 1929. Bassett’s had felt for some time that a trademark was needed which consumers would associate specifically with the company. Bertie Bassett, a character made entirely from units of Licorice Allsorts was born, created by advertising agency Greenlys.


CharacterTM (, based in Portland, OR, creates new brand characters and revitalizes existing ones in the U.S. and around the world. The multi-dimensional team combines backgrounds in animation, filmmaking, screenwriting, improvisational theatre, marketing and new product development to develop characters that build trust in brands and create strong emotional connections with consumers. The firm has done character development work for such clients as the Pepsi-Cola Company, General Mills, M&M/Mars, Maytag Corporation, and Hearst Entertainment, to name a few.

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