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Client: Nestlé Rowntree's Kit Kat

Agency: J. Walter Thompson, London

Nestlé tampers with U.K. advertising icon to halt Kit Kat sales slide

The news that Kit Kat, the U.K.'s top-selling chocolate snack brand, axed its 30-year-old tagline, "Have a break. Have a Kit Kat" made headlines in the U.K. press.

The slogan is one of the best-known in U.K. advertising but Nestle Rowntree decided it wasn't shifting enough product any more. Last year, Kit Kat sales fell 5.4% to $208 million while sales of Kit Kat Chunky, launched in 1999 to boost the brand, plummeted 18%. (In the U.S. only, KitKat is licensed by Nestle to Hershey Food Corp.).

Nestle broke a $6.3 million campaign Sept. 13 featuring the new tagline, "Make the most of your break." While the line certainly sounds similar, it reflects Nestle's belief that U.K. consumers no longer have be persuaded to take breaks. Instead, the ads are designed to make consumers focus on the quality, not length, of their free time.

The first execution opens on three characters shouting, screaming and crashing around in a staff kitchen during their break. After sharing a Kit Kat, they walk back into their workplace, which turns out to be a library.

In a second commercial, three stylish friends on their coffee break openly criticize each other's attire before they return to the boutique where they work, telling customers how great they look.

Nestle hopes the tweaked tagline and other initiatives-the company introduced a low-carb Kit Kat in July and says it is developing new flavors such as lemon cheesecake-will restore the KitKat brand to its status as the U.K.'s favorite coffee-break snack.

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