Long established as one of the UK's favourite chocolate bars, KitKat is also a flagship of Nestlé Confectionery's international portfolio, now sold in around 70 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. The brand was first introduced by British confectioner Rowntree in 1935; oddly, it was named 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 sweet treat. It is the only brand so honoured to-date.
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Historical snapshot information for KitKat
Capsule checked 20th June 2018
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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