Nestlé launches pink KitKat and Lidl slows US plans: International round-up

Plus Lego pairs with Chinese internet giant Tencent to launch a virtual world, and Starbucks wins a trade mark case against Belgian coffee brand.

Nestlé launches naturally pink KitKat in Japan to appeal to millennials

Nestlé is launching a pink KitKat variant made from ruby cocoa beans, in a bid to appeal to a younger audience. The new bars will be launched in Japan and South Korea before being rolled out to other countries including the UK.

The newly developed chocolate is naturally pink in colour and Nestlé claims to be the first company in the world to commercialise it.

Sandra Martinez, head of confectionery strategy at Nestlé, hopes the range will attract younger consumers. “It shows that KitKat has edge, sets the trend. It will keep KitKat as a cool brand that interests millennials,” she says.

Japan is no stranger to unusual KitKat flavours, having created variants such as green tea for the Asian market for years.

Nestlé finalised its agreement to sell US confectionery brands including Crunch, Nerds and Runts to Italian company Ferrero for $2.8bn (£1.9bn) earlier this week.

READ MORE: Nestlé hopes pink KitKat will be big in Japan

Lego partners with Chinese internet giant Tencent to develop online world for kids

Lego has partnered with Tencent to create a range of digital content for children in China, including coding software and video games. Lego Boost will be a coding set that children can use to build their own Lego creations and to codevelop Lego Life, a social network tailored specifically to Chinese children.

With children’s online safety being a major concern for many parents, both companies emphasised safeguarding as a crucial part of their partnership. Anna Gao, vice-president of Tencent Games, says: “Faced with the tendency of lower age in internet users, the cooperation between the Lego Group and Tencent can leverage technological and innovative means to build a healthy online environment for children.”

In China, children under the age of 18 account for 22.5% of the total number of internet users, with Lego’s new platforms designed to fit into the Lego Group Digital Safety Policy, which was created with UNICEF in attempt to tighten internet safety.

READ MORE: The Lego Group Parners with Tencent to empower Chinese children in the digital world 

Lidl slows plans for US expansion

Lidl

Lidl may have overtaken Waitrose in the UK but the food retailer is reportedly slowing its US expansion. In June it opened its first stores in North America and promised to expand from 20 to 100 outlets within the year, but it now appears the project has been abandoned.

The grocery chain has experienced huge success in the UK – it was the fastest growing supermarket alongside Aldi over Christmas. However, it seems it hasn’t been able to replicate this fast-past growth across the pond with reports suggesting it is switching its focus from big-box stores to smaller formats.

Lidl has not denied the reports saying only that it is “constantly examining and working on our property portfolio”.

READ MORE: German discounter Lidl slows U.S. expansion: paper

Starbucks wins right to block rival trade mark

Starbucks

Starbucks has won back the right to block a trade mark application on the grounds it bears a striking resemblance to its own logo. The EU General Court annulled an earlier decision, which had previously allowed a Belgian woman to keep her coffee brand trademark. Her logo has a smaller circle with a musical note inside a bigger band with the words ‘Coffee Rocks’.

The EU General Court found that the trade marks owned by Starbucks and Nersesyan have the “same general appearance” including the wording appearing in the same font.

Tania Clark, partner and trade mark attorney at intellectual property firm, Withers & Rogers, says: “There is an important lesson here for brand owners to ensure the logos and corporate identities under development are not confusingly similar to any pre-owned registrations…Proactivity in assessing brand availability is essential to any marketing strategy.”

Vespa India launches digital campaign to promote partnership with AIDS charity

Piaggio, manufacturer of the Vespa scooter brand in India, has launched a digital campaign to promote Vespa Red and support its partnership with AIDS charity Red. Partnering with agency Dentsu Webchutney the digital launch is designed to educate consumers about the charity, as well as build excitement about the collaboration.

Indian actor, director and UN Women Goodwill Ambassador Farhan Akhtar held a Facebook Live session to kick off the launch. It was promoted across a variety of social platforms and an average user engagement of 80%.

The bright red bike was launched in October with the money from every individual sale going towards the Global Fund to fight AIDS in India. There are currently 2.1 million HIV cases in India. New infections have halved in the past decade but there is still a huge amount of discrimination against those who carry the disease.

READ MORE: Vespa India launches digital campaign to promote their partnership with AIDS campaign

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