Fantasy Frustration Keeps KitKat Winning




It’s 66 years since Donald Gilles of JWT came up with “Have a break… Have a KitKat” to sum up the chocolate biscuit’s particular appeal. At an age when humans are thinking of retirement, the slogan shows no signs of losing its effectiveness. And it never will: it’s a perfect example of the slogan-writer’s art. It seduces the customer, explains the emotional benefit, and evokes the act of enjoying the product, all in six magic words.

The product and the slogan haven’t changed, and Wunderman Thompson – the successor agency to JWT – are still making great KitKat ads off the back of it. “Have a break” is an infinitely adaptable proposition – it’s as rich as human lives are, because every life has those moments where you just need a bit of a rest and a little treat.

Case in point, Wunderman Thompson’s latest KitKat ad, with a medieval knight approaching a castle only to find she’s forgotten her password and has to answer the security questions. Fortunately her horse provides inspiration and she gets through the gate. The ad is very much in the spirit of KitKat’s modern classic “Catapult”, where medieval soldiers had to assemble a siege engine with an IKEA-style instruction booklet. It’s putting relatable modern frustrations in an old-world setting to draw out the humour of them.

“Password” gets a strong 4.4-Star Rating, which isn’t surprising. It’s a funny ad, with the medieval fantasy setting creating a strong sense of place and time, and entertaining interactions between the frustrated knight and the jolly castle guard. Like “Catapult” it hits a lot of the elements we know trigger “broad-beam” right-brained attention and build positive response for long-term brand growth. There’s a trend right now for more humour in ads and it’s a very welcome one – ads like “Password” show how effective funny ads can be.

It’s in the shorter-term metrics that “Password” really excels, though. It lands Exceptional scores for both short-term Spike rating and for Brand Fluency – short but clear branding right at the start of the ad helps ensure that. This is also where that killer slogan truly does its job, putting a brand asset right at the emotional heart of the story and giving the product its moment to play the hero. 66 years in, and “Have A Break, Have A KitKat” shows no signs of needing one.

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