HomeEconomynewsHoppy Easter! Cadbury Crowns Rescued Raccoon as Winner of 2023 Bunny Tryouts

Hoppy Easter! Cadbury Crowns Rescued Raccoon as Winner of 2023 Bunny Tryouts

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In a fun and furry twist, iconic chocolate brand Cadbury has gone off the bunny trail this year and named an unlikely animal as the winner of its annual Cadbury Bunny Tryouts contest – a raccoon! Two-year-old Louie from Miami, Florida was voted the surprising champion of the 2023 competition, besting dogs, cats, and even a donkey to take the coveted Bunny spot.

The beloved chocolate-maker known for its famous Cadbury Creme Eggs held the 6th annual Bunny Tryouts over the past month. Pet owners across the United States submitted adorable photos of their furry, feathery or scaly friends on social media using #BunnyTryouts and #Contest for a chance at starring in Cadbury’s iconic commercial spots.

For the first time, the Tryouts took place entirely on Instagram with a March Madness-style bracket format that let fans vote to determine the winner. After over a million votes were tallied, little Louie the rescued raccoon emerged victorious over 31 other “bunny” candidates.  

As the grand prize winner, Louie will take home $7,000 and, most importantly, have a starring role in the 2025 Cadbury Cluckers commercial airing around Easter next year. The lucky raccoon will join the esteemed ranks of previous Bunny Tryouts winners like Betty the frog, Lieutenant Dan the dog and last year’s champion Crash the rescue cat.

“Each year we look forward to crowning a new Cadbury Bunny, especially this year where we engaged fans in a new way through our bracket-style competition,” said Natalie Shuntich, Senior Associate Marketing Manager at Hershey, which owns the Cadbury brand. “It was incredible to see pet lovers getting in on the fun and the loving support for our 32 cute finalists from Cadbury fans across the U.S.”

While raccoons might seem an unconventional choice to represent the beloved Easter Bunny, Louie’s humble origins as a rescue make his rise to stardom even more heartwarming. His owner, Jaime Arslan, rescued the furry bandit in 2021 after he was deemed unfit to survive in the wild as an infant.

“We’re thrilled that Louie has been chosen as the winner – we are longtime fans of the Cadbury brand and are honored to see Louie join the long legacy of incredible Cadbury Bunnies,” Arslan said. “Louie’s TV debut in Cadbury’s 2025 commercial can’t come soon enough!”

Indeed, with his striped face, ringed tail and mischievous demeanor, Louie seems destined to be a scene-stealer. Raccoons are famed for being resourceful, clever and adaptable – the perfect qualities for an animal ambassador representing a candy beloved for its own unique quirks and qualities.

For over a century, Cadbury has built its reputation on creating sui generis candies like the iconic creme-filled egg, melding rich flavors with whimsical designs and creative marketing ideas. The brand’s Easter campaigns have become generational traditions, with the famous Clucking Bunny ads ranking among the most beloved seasonal commercials.

Now, Louie the raccoon will carry on that legacy by putting his own furry spin on the classic bunny role. With his bandit mask and penchant for getting into mischief, he’s a fitting emblem for the chocolatey “crimes” Cadbury’s treats inspire with their irresistible, craveable qualities.

Of course, Louie’s selection represents an even more meaningful message about giving rescued and endangered animals like raccoons their well-deserved time in the spotlight. Often misunderstood as nuisances, raccoons are intelligent, charming creatures when seen in the proper light – a great metaphor for how Cadbury shines a light on them through the Bunny contest.

“We’re proud that the Cadbury brand can use its powerful voice to raise awareness for great causes like animal rescue every year through the Bunny campaign,” said Hershey executive Lynn Buck. “Louie’s story is one we’re excited to share as a reminder of how these remarkable animals have so much to offer when given a second chance.”

As for how the two-year-old raccoon will translate to commercial stardom, fans will have to wait until 2025’s Easter season to find out. If his Bunny Tryouts performance is any indication, Louie could make for an instant classic with his inherent screen presence and off-the-wall bunny behavior.  

Imagining the furry bandit clucking along to the iconic Bunny Tracks or gleefully unwrapping a Cadbury egg already has the internet buzzing over the potential for some egg-centric comedic moments. Not to mention his potential real-life raccoon antics causing trouble on set!

However Louie’s debut unfolds, one thing is certain – the 2023 Bunny Tryouts winner is already melting hearts and stoking the imagination, representing a sweet step forward for Cadbury’s beloved superstar bunny character.

So raise a Cadbury Creme Egg in toast to the new reigning bunny, Louie the rescued raccoon. His journey from the forest to the small screen is a reminder that sometimes, you need to think outside the rabbit hole to find your perfect Bunny.

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