Long established as one of the UK's favourite chocolate bars, KitKat is also a flagship of Nestlé Confectionery's international portfolio, sold in more than 80 countries, with combined sales well in excess of £1bn. It is especially popular in Japan, where it has established a reputation as a good luck charm for exam candidates. The only market where Nestle doesn't control the brand is the US where, for historical reasons, the long-term license is held by Hershey. As a result, Hershey's version is slightly different in both taste and branding. Around 600m Kit Kats are manufactured each year at Nestlé's main UK chocolate factory in York, and there are smaller factories in several other countries. In addition to its traditional milk chocolate and wafer format, the brand is also available in different markets in a bewildering variety of additional flavours, ranging from the comparatively mundane peanut butter to more exotic watermelon or sweet potato, and a smaller selection of variant formats from single-finger KitKat Chunky to miniature KitKat Bites. Japan has the most extensive range, including regional flavour variants available only in specific areas of the country. Japan too was the launch pad for the KitKat Chocolatory, a premium "design your own" concept which has also been tested in several other countries. This promises as many as 1,500 different customised and handcrafted flavours, priced at up to £14/$20 a bar. The brand was first introduced by British confectioner Rowntree in 1935 under the name Chocolate Crisp. Oddly, and for unexplained reasons, it was renamed two years later after a celebrated 18th century political club which later became a London nightclub. In an equally unusual reverse accolade, Google selected KitKat as the title of the 2013 version of its Android mobile software, traditionally named each year after some form of usually generic sweet treat, such as Gingerbread or Marshmallow. KitKat was the first brand to be honoured. (The only other to-date is Oreo in 2017).
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Capsule checked 23rd April 2020
Adbrands Daily Update 10th Jun 2021: "Wizards & Sorcerors". Even wizards and sorcerors occasionally need a break... Wunderman Thompson's Australian outpost has increasingly taken the lead on the global KitKat creative account. Few other offices in the network have contributed any notable ads in recent years, while WT Australia (and predecessor JWT) has been hitting them out of the park since 2015 with films like 'Katapult' and 'Wild West' and the latest series. This time around, the campaign envisages a wizard and sorceror encountering the same sort of everyday issues experienced by ordinary mortals. Fine work from local film and TV icon Michael Caton and a great comic turn by Maori actor Miritana Hughes.
Adbrands Social Media 16th May 2019: "Wild West". Kit Kat ads don't come along that often these days, but they're usually worth the wait when they arrive. And it's rare indeed that we get not just one but a whole series. Newly merged Wunderman Thompson Australia has unveiled a collection of different spots for Nestlé's star product. It continues what has been a generally strong run from predecessor agency JWT Australia, which also created the excellent 'Katapult' spot the year before last. The best gags in the new series of ads rely on the comic anomaly of applying modern day digital conveniences like GPS and passwords to Old West problems.
Adbrands Weekly Update 31st May 2018: Ads of the Week: "The Red Phone". J Walter Thompson's Brazilian office really pushed out the boat on production design in this lavish new global campaign for Kit Kat. New Kit Kat ads don't come along very often these days, but they're always worth the wait, proving the continuing longevity of that decades-old "Take A Break, Have A Kit Kat" slogan. Further proof too of the efficacy of comedic bathos - surely there should be a better word for it than the rather blunt-sounding 'bathos' - in which a balloon of mounting dramatic tension is pricked by a comic anti-climax. Nicely done.
Adbrands Weekly Update 23rd May 2017: Ads of the Week: "Katapult". J Walter Thompson pokes some gentle fun at Ikea in this great Australian ad for Nestle's Kit Kat. It was about time we had another funny spot for Kit Kat, which has found plenty of humour over the years in the concept of "Have a break". More recently, though, Nestle has appeared to scale back its advertising for the brand. Perhaps they were just waiting for the right gag.
Adbrands Weekly Update 5th Sep 2013: Google has joined forces with Nestle and Hershey's to baptise the latest version of its Android operating system "Kit Kat". Like US hurricanes, incarnations of Android are letter-coded, with the latest release becoming version K. For ease of reference, Google has assigned sweet-themed names to each version - most recently Honeycomb, Ice Cream Sandwich and Jelly Bean. Version K was set to be called Key Lime Pie, but according to John Lagerling, director of Android global partnerships, "we realised that very few people actually know the taste of a key lime pie. One of the snacks that we keep in our kitchen for late-night coding are Kit Kats. And someone said: 'Hey, why don't we call the release Kit Kat?'" According to Nestle marketing chief Patrice Bula, it took just 24 hours to agree the deal, and then tie in Hershey, who license the Kit Kat trademark in the US. No money is changing hands, but more than 50m Kit Kat wrappers will be featuring the Android Kit Kat logo in celebration of the arrangement. Will other brand tie-ups follow? Mars must be hoping so - their Life Savers and Lockets are just about the only L confectionery brands in the world; and then of course comes M...
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