Kit Kat doubles media spend to reclaim lost sales

Kit Kat is doubling its media spend in 2015 with the launch of a £10m multimedia campaign after losing sales in the sweet biscuits category last year.

The “Celebrate the Breaks” campaign, set to launch during the first week of February, will refresh the brand’s consistent “Have a break” message by presenting it in a different way, according to brand owner Nestlé.

A TV and social ad spot will push the idea that no two people are the same and each has unique ways of taking a break.

Haseeb Rahman, business unit head for biscuits at Nestlé, told Marketing Week: “Everyone breaks in a different way, whether it’s taking a walk or watching a movie. The campaign is about celebrating all breaks and encouraging people to take them, as they have a positive impact on people from a wellness perspective.”

The campaign will also be promoted through heavy in-store promotion as well as social media. In a first for the chocolate business, the campaign’s hash tag, #mybreak, will also be embossed onto 22 million Kit Kat chocolate bars, according to Kit Kat’s senior brand manager Robert Marsh.

“By embossing the hash tag onto bars for the first time, we’re not only exposing consumers to the activity when they’re online or watching TV, but also when they eat the product itself,” Marsh told Marketing Week.

Rahman says the campaign comes during a time when the confectionary business is in decline.

“We’re bringing out a campaign at a time when consumers are looking at a lot of variables, including channels, pricing and alternative brands,” he says. “We want to continue to rejuvenate the brand by keeping consumers as excited by Kit Kat as they were.”

Nielsen data ending 30 September showed that Kit Kat sales had dropped by 11% to £71m year on year causing the brand to maintain its fourth position in the sweet biscuits category, while McVitie’s sales had risen 5% to £393m, putting the brand in the top spot.

Cadbury’s Biscuits and Fox’s also led Kit Kat, though both brands had also seen sales drops year on year.

However, IRI data from 6 December cited by Nestlé states that Kit Kat is now worth £189m, while the company claims that a 2014 Millward Brown Brand Healthy Study showed Kit Kat has the highest level of awareness and loyalty amongst all confectionary brands.

Despite the fact that Rahman calls McVitie’s Chocolate Digestive a “direct competitor” to Kit Kat, he says the campaign isn’t an effort to get the top slot in the category.

“The motivation is really about strengthening and extenuating the position of Kit Kat as the only brand people can really enjoy their break with,” he says.

“When we compare ourselves with our nearest competitors, Kit Kat is one of the leading brands from a value share perspective. While we hope we will get the top slot because of the campaign, it’s not the motivation behind it.”

The campaign will also push last December’s new flavour variant launch for the brand, Kit Kat Toffee Treat.

The new product, which the company says has a broad appeal with younger consumers, is the first of many new innovations the brand has planned this year.

“This is just an appetizer in terms of our new products,” Rahman says. “We’ve launched Toffee Treat following consumer research, and we’re quite optimistic about several other new products to come moving forward.”