Have a break have a KitKat

Are you stressed with your schoolwork and overloaded by your hectic daily life? Feeling under the weather out of a sudden? Have yourself a short break, and have yourself a sweet KitKat bar! Let's immerse ourselves in the simple yet powerful concept of KitKat's iconic advertising slogan: 'Have a break, have a KitKat.' Introduced in 1937, Kitkat is one of the world's favorite chocolate brands and one of the most famous slogans.  But what is the meaning of the 'Have a break have a KitKat' slogan? What is the marketing strategy and marketing mix behind the successful KitKat campaigns? You will find that and more in our article. So, grab a KitKat and read on!

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Table of contents

    Have a Break, Have a KitKat Meaning

    The meaning behind the 'Have a break, have a KitKat' slogan is that the KitKat bar brings customers the enjoyment of a short break from their long working days.1 Being simple and easy to understand, KitKat's slogan invites people to give themselves a sweet break with KitKat bars.1

    As society has developed over decades with complex changes in every aspect of life, the brand's tagline and core meaning remain relevant and desirable in various life contexts: the long working days, the exhausting gym sessions, or simply the sudden down in one's mood.

    Have a break have kitkat the famous global brand StudySmarterFig. 1 - The famous global brand

    Have a Break Have a KitKat History

    History of the slogan 'Have a break, have a KitKat" dates back to 1937 when Rowntree's of York, a confectioner, was forced to revise its recipe for the Chocolate Crisp bar due to food shortages during wartime.1 Learning from an employee's idea of creating 'chocolate bars that can be pocketed and taken to work,' the confectioner invented its new chocolate bar wrapped in blue paper and named it KitKat.1

    However, it was not until 1957 that Donald Gilles, an employee at JWT London advertising agency, coined the brand's iconic slogan: 'Have a break, have a KitKat,' to tie Kitkat's advertising messages to its core product values of 'associating the KitKat bar with the enjoyment of a short break from the working day'.1

    In 1988, as Nestlé acquired Rowntree's of York, KitKat became a chief product under Nestlé's distribution. Ever since then, Nestlé has made constant efforts to trademark the "Have a break" slogan across KitKat's marketing and advertising strategies.1

    Have a Break, Have a KitKat Commercials

    The first official appearance of the tagline in a commercial can be traced back to May 1957 in Donald Gilles' introduction of KitKat and its new slogan. In 1958, the 'Have a break, have a KitKat' slogan featured in the first television commercial for KitKat.

    Let's look at some of the milestones of 'Have a break, have a KitKat' in commercials throughout history.

    Elevenses (1958)

    In 1958, KitKat introduced the tagline on a popular show, Elevenses, the common 11:00 am tea break activity among British factory workers. It reminded people to take a break from anything stressful through comedic situations.

    Panda Kitkat Advert (1959)

    In 1959, 'Panda Kitkat Advert' told the story of a photographer attempting to snap a photo of a pair of pandas in a zoo. However, it was not until the photographer decided to take a break that the panda finally appeared on roller skates!

    No Rest for the Wicked (1987)

    Adapting to the public interest through an irreverent sense of humor in commercials, in 1987, KitKat and its 'No Rest for the Wicked' advertisement featured a devil and an angel taking a break from their daily 'jobs' in the foyer of an office building. The harmonious relationship between an angel and a devil while eating KitKat entertained and impressed audiences.

    Peace and Love (2001)

    In 2001, Nestlé breathed fresh air into its advertisement for Kitkat across the UK with a tagline twist: 'Give Yourself a KitKat. Give Yourself a Break' with its special commercial video: 'Peace and Love.'

    2001 onwards

    Entering the exploding era of commercials and technology, Nestlé diversified its KitKat commercial content to touch various industries and even personal contexts. Yet, the core relevance remains in the relationship between KitKat, an individual's workplace, and their recreation time.

    KitKat Marketing Strategy

    We can distinguish three important elements of KitKat's Marketing Strategy:

    • Consistent tagline
    • Unique flavors
    • Aggressive social media marketing

    Consistent Tagline

    Since its first commercial appearance in 1958, the tagline 'Have a break, have a KitKat' has never changed.2 The phrase is catchy and easy to remember.

    By branding a consistent and friendly tagline, KitKat and its slogan 'Have a break, have a KitKat' has assisted Nestlé in executing its strategy of making KitKat a part of everyone's life.2

    Through commercial advertisements, KitKat has appeared in the minds of consumers as a chocolate bar they can eat whenever they are free. There is no need for special occasions to enjoy KitKat! Further, the tagline is also a persuasive call to action.

    Unique Flavors

    Kitkat follows a localization marketing strategy in which the brand markets customized flavors, editions, and product sizes for each separate location. For instance, you can find half-finger-sized KitKat bars during your trip in Japan, while 12-finger-sized family KitKat bars are typical in supermarkets across France and Australia.

    Do you know how many flavors and editions of Kitkat there are nowadays? Impressive, it is over 200 different ones.

    With over 200 strange yet tasty variants of flavors such as soy sauce, ginger ale, or orange, Kitkat has created cross-country excitement for its products.

    There has been a global trend in tasting and reviewing different flavors of KitKat, among which a famous series by BuzzFeed, ' Americans Try Exotic Japanese KitKat,' has received enormous public attention with over 9 million views and hundreds of comments worldwide.2

    Have a break have a KitKat KitKats diverse flavors StudySmarterFig. 2 - Diverse unique flavors of KitKat

    Aggressive Social Media Marketing

    With over 999,000 followers on Instagram and 25 million followers on Facebook, KitKat has leveraged its social media platforms as a primary marketing and communication channel.

    A unique approach KitKat takes in its social media marketing is moment marketing.3

    Moment marketing is the ability of a brand to take advantage of ongoing events to create related communications and marketing assets around such events.

    For KitKat, moment marketing implies the interaction and collaboration between KitKat and other brands online to bring the KitKat brand's fun, empathetic, and playful personality to life.

    This was the first time two brands were interacting online and we started to think – what other brands would we like to talk to? Who would KitKat like to hang out with?

    - Stewart Dryburgh, Nestlé's Global Head of KitKat.3

    Moment marketing between KitKat and Oreo

    In 2013, Laura Ellen, a chocolate lover, tweeted about her two favorite brands: 'Can tell I like chocolate a bit too much when I'm following KitKat and Oreo.' KitKat immediately attempted to win Laura's affection by inviting Oreo to a good-natured challenge: Tic Tac Toe with candy sticks representing KitKat and sandwich cookies representing Oreo.

    Kit Kat Marketing Mix

    KitKat possesses a balanced marketing mix within which each element has a strong relationship. Below is a detailed description of each of KitKat's marketing mix elements:

    Criteria

    Details

    Product

    • Unique confectionery products: four-finger chocolate bar and two-finger biscuit

    • 200+ tasty flavors

    • Suitable for people of all ages, gender, and nationality

    • Unique selling points: chocolate fingers with the signature tagline: 'Have a break, have a KitKat.'

    Price

    • Flexible pricing strategy

    • Apply "status quo" in product pricing: KitKat sets prices on par with its competitors to avoid price wars, but it still stays at a moderate level.

    • Stable pricing strategy: Although products' quality has continually improved, the price has remained almost the same for over 60 years.3

    Promotion

    • Diverse promotional tactics on packaging designs and strategic partnerships

    • Two primary marketing and advertising channels: television commercials and innovative advertising campaigns

    • Consistent branded tagline: 'Have a break, have a KitKat.'

    Place

    • Multichannel distribution strategy at retail, corner shops, and supermarkets

    • Maximize outlet distribution opportunities in both wholesale and retail

    • KitKat's products are present in over 100 countries worldwide

    • Manufacturing plants are located in 17 countries worldwide.4

    KitKat Advertising

    KitKat has heavily invested in its advertising activities, with the brand's advertising budget being over £16 million spent in 2009 in the UK.5

    The core advertising message of KitKat lies in its slogan: 'Have a break, have a KitKat.'

    Try to find a random advertisement for KitKat, and you can easily catch the consistent concept of encouraging people to rest for a while and enjoy a KitKat bar!

    The brand has made regular use of two advertising channels:

    • Television commercials: As mentioned earlier, KitKat has invested much into its commercials on television with a common theme of 'Have a break.'

    • Innovative advertising campaigns: With its rich collection of over 100 advertising campaigns, KitKat has made the concept of 'Have a break, have a KitKat' an annual global ritual of taking a break and enjoying the current moment.

    Innovative Advertising Campaigns of KitKat

    • Free No Wi-Fi Zone (2013)

    KitKat initiated its 'Free No Wi-Fi zone' in 2013 to break people from online connectivity. Thus, the brand placed benches that can block Internet access within a 5-meter radius across different locations in downtown Amsterdam.

    • A Break for Have a Break (2020)

    To celebrate its slogan's 85th birthday, KitKat ran its 'A Break for Have a Break' campaign, in which KitKat fans would have ten days to come up with a creative, temporary alternative line that has a similar sound to the slogan. KitKat rewarded the winner with an 85-hour break in a luxury hotel.

    Have a break have a KitKat - Key takeaways

    • 'Have a break, have a KitKat' was introduced in 1957 in London by Donald Gilles, an employee at JWT London advertising agency.

    • KitKat's slogan invites people to give themselves a sweet break with KitKat bars.

    • The marketing strategy of KitKat focuses on the use of a consistent tagline, the promotion of diverse, unique flavors, and the aggressive use of social media.

    • KitKat employs a balanced marketing mix.

    • KitKat has heavily invested in its advertising activities with two main channels: television commercials and innovative advertising campaigns.


    References

    1. Donald Gilles. 'Kit Kat (1957) – Have a Break Have a Kit Kat'. Creative Review. N.d
    2. Dev Gupta. 'The Unique and Creative Marketing Strategies of KitKat'. Startup Talky. 2022
    3. Nestle. 'KitKat turns 80: How 'moment marketing' helped this iconic chocolate brand conquer the digital world'. Nestle. 2015
    4. Ian Reynolds-Young. 'Make Sure You That When You Buy Kit Kats, You Buy The Genuine Article'. Planet Vending. 2020
    5. Robyn Lewis. 'KitKat gets 'costliest campaign' in history of confectionery ads'. The Grocer. 2008
    6. Fig.1 - The famous global brand KitKat (https://www.flickr.com/photos/95014823@N00/5485546382) by Marco Ooi (https://www.flickr.com/photos/jackredshoes/) is licensed by CC BY 2.0 (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/?ref=openverse).
    7. Fig.2 - Diverse unique flavors of KitKat (https://www.flickr.com/photos/62157688@N03/6426043211) by rns1986 (https://www.flickr.com/photos/62157688@N03/) is licensed by CC BY 2.0 (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/?ref=openverse).
    Frequently Asked Questions about Have a break have a KitKat

    Who invented have a break have a Kit Kat?

    'Have a break, have a KitKat' was introduced in 1957 by Donald Gilles, an employee at a London advertising agency.

    Where did have a break have a KitKat come from?

    'Have a break, have a KitKat' was introduced in 1957 in London by Donald Gilles, an employee at JWT London advertising agency.

    What does have a break have a Kitkat slogan mean?

    KitKat's slogan invites people to give themselves a little sweet break with KitKat bars. 

    What company has the slogan have a break have a Kit Kat?

    The slogan belongs to KitKat, a product under Nestlé's distribution.

    How is KitKat advertised?

    KitKat is advertised through various channels including television commercials, innovative advertising campaigns, and a social media strategy.

    What is Kit Kats target market?

    Kit Kat's target market is people of all ages, gender, and nationality. 

    When was KitKat invented?

    KitKat was invented in York in 1935 and it was then called Rowntree's Chocolate Crisp. In 1937, it was renamed KitKat.

    What is the slogan for KitKat?

    The slogan for KitKat is 'Have a break have a KitKat'. It was invented in 1957 by Donald Gilles, a JWT London advertising agency employee.

    Test your knowledge with multiple choice flashcards

    When was the slogan 'Have a break, have a KitKat' coined?

    Who coined the slogan 'Have a break, have a KitKat'?

    What is Nestlé's marketing strategy for branding KitKat's tagline 'Have a break, have a KitKat'?

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