Blog post by: Melissa Ignasiak
When you are halfway through a long, exhausting workday, why not take a break and reach for the perfect break time candy…a Kit Kat bar. The chocolate wafer was initially introduced in London in September 1935 as “Rowntree’s Chocolate Crisp” and was renamed two years later as Kit Kat Chocolate Crisp. Within two years of its launch, Kit Kat had become Rowntree’s (a Nestle company) most popular product. During World War II, the candy was portrayed as a valuable wartime food and was advertised as “What active people need”.
In 1957, Donald Gilles of the J. Walter Thompson ad agency created the slogan “Have a break. Have a Kit Kat” with the idea of associating the Kit Kat bar with the enjoyment of a short break from the working day. One year later, it was used on the first television spot for the candy and the commercials became extremely popular in the 1980’s when boardrooms and newsrooms were shown breaking off pieces of a Kit Kat bar. The classic “Gimme a Break” Kit Kat jingle, written by Ken Shuldman and Michale A. Levine, was introduced in America in 1986.
In 2004, the makers of Kit Kat decided to take a break from the company’s 47-year old slogan. After some market research, Nestle discovered that while most people knew the slogan and the jingle, it was starting to have little effect in convincing them to buy the candy. “Our findings indicated that the workplace break is now less structured and formal. The new slogan is acknowledging that a break is less formalized but, even it is for five minutes, you can maximize your enjoyment with a KitKat,” says a spokesman for Nestlé.
Although the brand no longer uses the famous slogan, Kit Kat has been able to create and advantage with a jingle that consumers can sing off the top of their head and included it in many memorable commercials. The idea that you do not need a special occasion to break off a piece of the candy and that it is a perfect break time snack will forever remain a staple of the Kit Kat brand.