If you're on LinkedIn at all, you've likely already seen this "Kit Kat ad".
It's absolutely perfect. For as long as I can remember, the tagline for the brand has been, "Have a Break. Have a Kit Kat." They position themselves as the chocolate bar that offers a moment of respite from your hectic world. And in our current "do-everything-from-home" world, too many of our calendars actually look like the one depicted. So leveraging the very distinctive Kit Kat bar as a literal break in your calendar? Brilliant.
There's just one thing: this is not an official Kit Kat ad.
I've easily seen this ad on my LinkedIn and Twitter feeds over 50 times in the past few days, and only a few people have referenced the fact that it wasn't commissioned by Kit Kat. Most people simply assume it's an official ad.
Kit Kat tweeted the following, which both acknowledges they didn't commission this creative and leverages it to their benefit anyway:
I also remember seeing Kit Kat tweet something like, "Don't worry, Sam will be getting a lot of Kit Kats delivered to him"... but I wasn't able to find this tweet anywhere despite a fairly exhaustive search. If I had to bet, I'd say Kit Kat deleted the tweet after realizing what a bad idea it was to suggest that great creative ideas be solely compensated in chocolate.
Kit Kat's public response to date is underwhelming. If the brand wanted to manage this opportunity even better, here are three things they should consider doing:
1. Show Sam the Money!
This may be completely obvious to most, but Kit Kat needs to connect with Sam Henning right away and offer him a fair (and perhaps even a more-than-fair) price to purchase the rights to his creative execution. Not only is this the right thing to do given the number of impressions from which the brand has already benefited as a result of Sam's ad, but a big brand purchasing creative not developed in an official capacity is a good story that's likely to be picked up by the media. And that extends the impact of the creative even further.
2. Go National
Once the appropriate rights have been secured, it's an absolute no-brainer for Kit Kat to use this creative in a national digital and out-of-home campaign.
Bonus: digital banner ads featuring this creative could easily direct people to Kit Kat's Chocolatory or the appropriate page on a retail partner's website so products can be purchased. After all, creativity is fantastic... but we all remember the ultimate purpose of marketing is to drive sales, right?
3. Hide an Easter Egg
Imagine you saw this Kit Kat creative "in the wild" (read: on an actual billboard) and decided to take a photo of it to share with your friends. ("Hey all, remember that viral Kit Kat ad from a while back? I just found it!") You take out your smartphone, open your camera app, point your phone towards the ad... and a link suddenly appears. You click the link, and it takes you to a website where you could redeem a free Kit Kat chocolate bar!
You might happily hand over your contact information so the company can send you a coupon, even knowing they'll probably also use that info to contact you in the future. And when you notice a counter on the website that indicates you've redeemed one of a limited number of free chocolate bars available, you'll likely use the special link provided to alert your friends so they can also get some free chocolate too... while it lasts.
Or perhaps when you point your camera towards the ad, it comes to life through the magic of augmented reality. All of a sudden, those two Kit Kat bars break apart, and behind the chocolate you see people indulging in creative Kit Kat breaks.
The technology for this already exists, and it might already be sitting on your smartphone: Google Lens can read QR codes to bring up websites and launch AR applications. If you want to see a great example of how this works, have a look at the augmented print-ads for Stranger Things that Google and Netflix partnered together to launch in 2019.
The fun part here would be to hide these benefits in the form of "easter eggs" that will eventually be discovered... and will almost certainly generate earned media when they are. That would effectively use something that already went viral to encourage something else that's separate (but related) to also go viral... a huge ROI win should it happen. (And if the easter eggs aren't discovered in a reasonable amount of time, a friendly-hint to a journalist looking for a story is sure to do the trick.)
Kit Kat got very lucky when Sam Henning's ad went viral, and they've already benefited tremendously as a result. But there's an opportunity to leverage this situation even better.
Let's wait and see what happens.
Even Better is a feature series on this blog that identifies opportunities for companies of all shapes and sizes to improve their customer experiences, increase brand love, and drive incremental growth. If you want your company to become even better, let's connect.