Wednesday, 22 January 2014

Sweet marketing for KitKat in Japan

Inside the Seibu department store at the Ikebukuro train station in Tokyo is a new chocolate boutique featuring one of Japan's favourite brands: Nestle's KitKat. The brand name has become associated with good luck because it sounds like the phrase 'I hope you will win'. Students in Japan buy KitKats with the thought that it will help them do well on exams.

Not surprisingly, KitKat uses marketing to build on this good luck perception. The new boutique sells some exclusive KitKat flavours created by chocolatier Takagi for Nestle, including Sublime Bitter, Special Sakura Green Tea and Special Chilli. The boutique is already selling out its limited-edition products daily, but revenues aren't the only reason for this retail venture: It's actually a high-profile brand-builder. Simply type "KitKat Chocolatory" or "KitKat Japan" into a search engine and you'll see the boutique's worldwide media coverage.

From 2007, Nestle has developed KitKat variations only for Japan. In fact, depending on where in Japanese consumers buy KitKats, they will find flavours not available in other areas (like Purple Potato). Most KitKat packaging features English (the brand and the brand owner) as well as Japanese, adding a 'global' angle that enhances the product's sweet marketing appeal.