|The salmon stars in the Nestle KitKat TV spot for Britain's 'Big Break.'
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Nestle started planning the integrated $8 million "Britain's Biggest Break" campaign last September, not expecting it to coincide with the first days of the U.S.-led war against Iraq (the U.K. is part of the military coalition in the region). In last-minute meetings, Nestle decided it was too late to stop the campaign's momentum, which had been building up since ads started breaking Feb. 26. But the company did a thorough check on creative content.
Radio spot pulled
"We had to be ultra-sensitive," said Liam Newton, head of brand marketing at Nestle Rowntree. (In the U.S., KitKat is marketed by Hershey Food Co.) Mr. Lewton said he pulled a radio spot featuring a soldier that would have been innocuous in peacetime but in the current climate.
KitKat is the U.K.'s leading confectionery brand.
The multifaceted campaign leading up to the "biggest break" included a funny but thought-provoking commercial; a radio burst that apparently had the most spending ever by a brand in the U.K.; an outdoor campaign; public relations; special packaging that tied into a mobile phone text messaging contest, and ads in all major newspapers, including two special supplements in London's biggest circulation paper, News Corp.'s The Sun.
As a further reminder on Friday, The Sun sent 15 models around frigid London wearing only red bikinis in an open-top red London double-decker bus dubbed the Sun-mobile.
The aim was to get consumers to think more deeply about the chocolate wafer's 46-year-old tagline "Have a break. Have a KitKat."
"Although it's one of the country's best-known taglines, people have lost the sense of what it means to take a break," Mr. Newton said. "They need reminding that breaks are good for people and increase productivity."
Regular breaks for tea, for instance, were part of union contracts in the U.K. until the 1980s.
The story of the salmon
Setting the tone in a TV spot titled "Salmon," by KitKat's global agency J. Walter Thompson, part of WPP Group, British movie actor Jason Statham relaxes in a local cafe and tells the story of the salmon and its battle to swim upstream to spawn. There are frequent cuts to the salmon's struggles.
"Heroically, it reaches its goal and it's absolutely knackered and it dies," the actor says. "Remember, you are not a salmon." He unwraps a KitKat as the spot ends.
Radio, outdoor and print ads used the "Remember, you are not a salmon" theme.
Even the packaging is break-oriented. Once opened, the KitKat wrapper reveals a heat-activated code that can be sent to KitKat via e-mail, mail, telephone or cell phone text messaging. On March 21, all entrants got reminders to take their break. Many didn't need one; the British eat 4 million KitKats every day and annual sales total $400 million.
U.K. digital agency Aerodeon Wireless Marketing handled the wireless portion for KitKat.
In a media first, the KitKat spot aired immediately before 3 p.m. simultaneously on all U.K. commercial TV and satellite channels. WPP's MindShare coordinated the media planning and for the campaign.