Less Is More For 5-Star KitKat

Congratulations to KitKat, whose “Clockwise” ad achieved the maximum 5-Star score in our automated Ad Ratings testing for June. The 15-second spot finds two medieval guys growing increasingly frustrated with their flatpack catapult (or “Katapult” – we hope a certain Swedish retailer isn’t blushing too hard) – relief is at hand thanks to KitKat.



It’s a short, sweet and funny ad and firmly in line with KitKat’s historical and international positioning as the confectionery you reach for when you just need a break.

So far, so typical. But “Clockwise” has a slightly unusual pedigree – which you might guess at if you notice the accents of its historical heroes. Harold and Allen. The ad was originally a 1-minute spot, “Katapult”, made by JWT Sydney back in May 2017. Harold and Allen starred in a small string of ads along the same theme – a frustration of everyday modern life transferred back to the Middle Ages. (Which qualifies our hapless pair as a Fluent Device, as it happens).


The KitKat Australia YouTube showcases the 60 second version and a cut-down 30-second one. But it’s a 15-second execution that’s sealed the 5-Star score. It’s testimony to how important editing is in the creative process. Because while there’s no universal rule on ad length, if you look at the long “Katapult” and the short “Clockwise” side by side, it’s hard not to feel that the shorter version is stronger.

The edit cuts out extraneous elements – like the woman looking on, which gave the original a mildly sexist dimension – and uses quick cuts to establish the story very rapidly. It also keeps the best joke (“clockwise”) and still finds room for a pack shot and punchline. And if this ad does well, KitKat have more Harold and Allen where it came from – another benefit of exporting a Fluent Device.

Editing is one of the six elements on our Creative Guidance Dashboard that can push a borderline ad into 4- or 5-Star territory. That’s what JWT have done with “Clockwise” and it stands as a great case study for how cutting can make a commercial stronger.

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At System1, we help advertisers make confident, creative decisions that lead to transformational business results. Our powerful ad testing platform (Test Your Ad) and our idea testing platform (Test Your Idea) help brands predict the commercial potential of ads and ideas. Complementing TYA and TYI is Test Your Brand, our brand monitoring tool which measures the impact of ads and ideas on brand health, ensuring long-term brand growth through predictive success.

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