Magazine article Marketing

GREAT BRITISH BRANDS: Kit Kat - Britain's Favourite Chocolate Bar since before World War II, Kit Kat Has Spent the Past Few Years Trying to Diversify

Magazine article Marketing

GREAT BRITISH BRANDS: Kit Kat - Britain's Favourite Chocolate Bar since before World War II, Kit Kat Has Spent the Past Few Years Trying to Diversify

Article excerpt

Complete this advertising slogan: 'Have a break - have a ...'

The headline at the top of this section might be a bit of a giveaway, but you would have got it anyway. Kit Kat is a brand with one of the longest-running and most famous slogans in British advertising. It's also Britain's chocolate bar of choice, with 47 sold every second. The product itself has been around since 1935 when it went on sale in London and the South-East as Rowntree's Chocolate Crisp. In 1937, two years before the Second World War began, it became the Kit Kat bar.

The brand name comes from an unlikely source. The Kit Kat bar is supposedly named after the Kit Kat club, an 18th century Whig literary club, which had very low ceilings. The only paintings it could hang on its wall had to be wide and not too high.

They became known as kit kats and Kit Kat chocolate bar took on the name because of its shape. Two years after it went on sale it had become the UK's best-selling chocolate bar and remains so today with sales of pounds 265m.

During the war it was, like all chocolate, something of a luxury, but the way the bars could be divided up among children made it tremendously popular. Its advertising during wartime suggested it was 'What active people need'.

The Kit Kat's distinctive red wrapper disappeared for a time during 1945 when the bar was produced with plain rather than milk chocolate because of shortages.

Its early advertising featured Kitty the Kat and the emphasis was on the 'rich, full-cream milk' used to make the bars. Improvements in production meant the bar was always crisp, so each finger could be briskly snapped off.

One of the secrets of its success has been its remarkable consistency in terms of ingredients, pack design, product and advertising.

The Kit Kat logo looks almost exactly as it did when the name first appeared.

The advertising slogan 'Have a break - have a Kit Kat', created by J Walter Thompson, first appeared on television in 1957. And it is a theme that continues to this day with its most recent TV advertising, also through JWT, showing celebrities taking a break from their normal images - so Roy Keane is shown doing his embroidery, while Kelly Brook turns down a dress because it's too revealing. It's not just the advertising that has remained consistent over many years. …

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