The ‘noble’ intentions and flowery words used to bring them to life are what you first get from the Cadbury Dairy Milk’s ‘In our own words campaign’. However, for any creative out there who knows how hard, time-consuming and sometimes costly it is to research, then write just a single piece, the next words that form the terms of conditions of the campaign are anything but flowers, rainbows, and unicorns, in fact, they hit you like ice-cold water in the face.Launched on 25th July 2021, the In our own words campaign is a campaign that seeks to inculcate the reading culture in children using stories from their backyards. This is all good and dandy only that the writers who are drawn from several African countries will not be compensated for their work…not even by the exposure that we all love to loathe.
Once creatives went through the terms of the campaign, they started taking on the Kenyan chapter of the multinational company calling them out for taking advantage of writers and did not let up until they got the attention of the Kenya Copyrights Board (KECOBO). In a statement, the latter warned writers against sending their work to the campaign, and as for Cadburys they were to pull down the campaign.
“For more context, this is Cadbury Africa specifically seeking to take advantage of 150 Kenyan authors and acting like it’s a good deed. If they want to do good, not advertising their products all over the page, and paying/crediting the people that do the work would be a start,” noted one irate tweep
“We urge all creative workers, professional or otherwise, to boycott @Cadbury_KE‘s campaign “In Our Own Words” until its participants are recognized and compensated for their work. As a writing community, we deem this campaign predatory. Thanks for your efforts,” wrote Aleya Kassam who spearheaded the efforts against the campaign
Anne Faith Birungi who had not been too keen on the terms and conditions of the campaign was relieved that other creatives had seen it and prevented her from making a big mistake
“I was to start submitting my children’s stories today, those I had taken time to write by hand. I’m grateful I knew to delay, just this much. Just the time I needed to read this. Thank you. I am honestly, truly grateful. Very Grateful. Thank you once more. Asante sana,” she said
In some quarters, some tweeps thought that a better avenue to take would be just giving them exposure while others were just shocked at the seemingly terse announcement that you will not even get a byline for your work let alone tangible renumeration. Intellectual property rights of creatives are enshrined in the law ‘donation’ or not.
Despite the protests, all that the country and creatives have received from Cadbury Dairy Milk is stone-cold silence. The original poster below has only been replaced by another with just different wording but the terms are just the same
“I want to ask the Brand Manager at @Cadbury_KE to please share with us, the stakeholders and consumers, here publicly, why you are so insistent on continuing this campaign with terms that your consumers have told you again & again harms the community? What are you holding on to? ” posed Kasam
Still stone-cold silence. Not a word and just like Kassam we will ask, what are you holding on to?