Plantable chocolate wrappers that grow into flowers by Southport student wins ‘Best Campaign’ in The Code

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Layla Assi (aged 16) from Stockport, Greater Manchester, studying at Southport College, Merseyside, has been named the winner of “Best Campaign” in advertising and digital skills competition, Rise Up 2020. Part of The Code ( from global advertising, marketing and digital agency, Dentsu, Rise Up 2020 challenged young people from diverse backgrounds to put their creativity to the test and develop a purpose-led brand campaign for Cadbury.

The young talent impressed the judges, including Cadbury’s Senior Brand Manager, Claudia Miceli and Brand Manager, Lyndsey Homer, as well as Paola Cassinelli, Senior Brand Manager from Mondelēz and Lauren Ashleigh Kelly, Client Director from Dentsu’sagency, Carat.

The winning campaign recommends using biodegradable paper wrappers, including a limited edition seeded card that can be planted to grow into plants and flowers. The judges were particularly impressed with the concept of taking something with a negative image and impact – packaging and wrappers – and turning it into a positive asset that helps promote biodiversity.

In her winning pitch to the judges, Layla Assi explained:

“It’s about time we started looking after the planet. Cadbury can be seen as a company that cares about the world’s future as well as their customers. Young, old, Cadbury consumers would be making a contribution to their ecosystem by simply buying a bar of chocolate. Cadbury really can feed the planet one wrapper at a time”

The annual Rise Up competition, now in its fourth year, provides young people with a real-world client brief and support to create and present an advertising and marketing campaign to a panel of senior industry decision-makers. This year’s competition called on young people to create a campaign for Cadbury. They were challenged to shine a light on everyday moments of generosity and kindness, building on Cadbury’s history of social justice and community spirit, to show how the brand can inspire and showcase a little more goodness in the world.

The Code was launched in January 2017 in the UK as a proactive solution to the industry-wide need to promote a diverse workforce reflective of the population. It aims to excite young people about careers in advertising, digital industries and marketing. Dentsu works with schools in areas of low social mobility across the UK, specifically with schools that have an above-average percentage of students of BAME heritage and also above-average numbers of young people entitled to free school meals. 240 young people joined Rise Up 2020; 52% of competition entrants were from BAME backgrounds and 61% were female. The Code’s name is derived from its four pillars: Creativity, Opportunity, Diversity, Empowerment.

Euan Jarvie, CEO, Dentsu UK and Ireland, said:

“2020 has been a challenging year for young people who have had to contend not only with studying remotely during lockdown, but also seeing opportunities for work experience and training dry up. We were determined to make sure Rise Up remained accessible for the young people taking part in The Code to enable as many as possible to enter this year’s competition. Layla’s concept stood out for its environmental impact and clear link to an urgent issue. We’re all looking forward to seeing the idea evolve when Layla joins the Mondelēz and Carat brand teams for work experience, and know she has a bright future ahead of her.”

“The advertising industry cannot expect to connect and engage diverse audiences with impactful brand campaigns if the teams behind them are not equally as diverse.  In 2016, we recognised that starting to resolve the lack of diversity in the advertising industry would mean directly reaching out to people of different heritages, life experiences and social backgrounds, and exciting them about careers in fields they may never have considered. That is good for us, it’s good for the young people and schools taking part, and ultimately it’s good for the brands we work with.”

Lyndsey Homer, Brand Manager, Mondelēz (parent company of Cadbury’s), said:

“Congratulations to Layla for creating an engaging and timely campaign. It has been a tough year for so many people up and down the country. The thousands of examples of generosity and kindness we’ve all witnessed have been essential to getting the nation through this crisis. Rise Up called on young creative minds to show that there’s a ‘glass and a half’ in everyone and showcase those acts of goodness. Layla’s campaign achieves that and more.”

Chiana Pettitt from Southend High School in Southend-on-Sea, Essex, was also highly commended by the judges for her one-minute elevator pitch. Her slogan, “Kindness and generosity is happiness – happiness is Cadbury”, captured the judges’ attention. So too did her wider campaign encouraging consumers to complete a bingo-style board of acts of kindness – from cooking a meal for a neighbour to saying ‘good morning’ to a stranger – and sharing their moments of generosity on social media.

In addition, all of the Rise Up 2020 finalists were surprised at the virtual awards ceremony with the offer of mentoring sessions with Dentsu experts to talk about life, school and their career paths. Each of the finalists received an XBOX Game Pass too to reward their impressive efforts.


Lockdown impacted this year’s prize and the schools and young people participating. To ensure as many young entrants could take part, The Code launched a digital curriculum and online platform alongside a safe-guarded mentoring platform.

The pivot to digital meant Dentsu and the partner schools involved could still offer valuable work experience, with access to mentors from Dentsu’s businesses, at a time when many opportunities for young people (particularly those approaching the end of secondary education) have been cancelled.

Scott Sallée, Social Impact Manager, Dentsu UK and Ireland said:

“Teachers tell us that these are often young people who are not listened to, whose voices do not get heard. The impact of demonstrating their talent to executives of globally recognised brands, is far greater than the competition itself.

“Schools are telling us just how difficult it has been for their students to secure work experience and other vocational skills training as companies across the board have scaled back the opportunities in the wake of Covid. The switch to a digital platform has meant we can continue to offer quality work experience with structured guidance from committed mentors. The Code and Rise Up opens the doors of our industry to the next generation of diverse talent, equipping them with the skills to thrive in the digital economy.

“None of us got where we are by ourselves. The Code offers Dentsu’s people a meaningful way to give back. Partnering with our clients outside of the commercial relationship consistently improves our client referral scores – aligning the why of our company with the why of their company and enabling us both to be a force for good.”

For more details about The Code and Rise Up, and to explore the digital curriculum, visit