Wednesday, 4 September 2013

Android and KitKat. Genius.

KitKat (Photo credit: Nestlé)
As eny fule no, Google is prone to various fits of whimsy and one of these is naming releases of its Android operating system after tasty treats. After Ice Cream Sandwich and Jelly Bean we were to have enjoyed Key Lime Pie, but the team of really cool and crazy guys at Google decided that few people would know what they were on about.

So they decided on KitKat as the name for Android 4.4. It was, Google's John Lagerling told the BBC, because they snacked on KitKats during late night coding sessions. The story's linked here and well worth reading - it tells of how Google put a cold call into Nestlé's London ad agency and how Nestlé 'got it' within 24 hours. The agreement to let this all go ahead was one which is, according to Lagerling, "not a money-changing-hands kind of deal."

Which is pretty stupendous. If you pop over to the KitKat website, you'll find they've made the most of the opportunity. It's all very well done and highly amusing, even to people who enjoy late night coding sessions, extolling the virtues of KitKat 4.4 with features such as portrait and landscape orientation, 'diamond sharp bevels' and unlimited standby time.

The Beeb and other news outlets have done a great job reaching out to 'brand consultancies' and 'marketing experts' to talk about the downside of the deal - how if KitKat has a huge product recall or Google's new Android is crap it'll affect the other brand. I think that's utter tosh - there are no downsides. Today's consumer is smart enough to know what's going on and I'm not about to uninstall my Nexus because a chocolate bar has gone wrong or, indeed, eschew KitKats because my latest install of Android sucks.

I'm afraid the naysayers are lone voices in the wilderness - this deal is brilliant at every level and Nestlé has to be applauded for not only seeing the potential with blinding speed, but getting the zeitgeist pretty much spot on. That's by no means a 'given' with marketing departments and agencies - anyone remember Vegemite's disastrous attempt to rename itself as "iSnack 2.0"?

And the fact that no cash has changed hands is very, well, Google, isn' t it?
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Dave Edwards said...

While I agree that there's no risk to either brand from a catastrophic failure of the other - because the products are so utterly unrelated - I cannot agree that it's a brilliant bit of branding. A brand should help the consumer understand the essence of the offer in some way, as Android arguably does very well. However, neither Ice Cream Sandwich nor Kitkat conveys any useful message at all. At least with Mac iOS I know where I stand, which is usually about two releases behind the current one.

Luke said...

Mr Edwards, according to your logic, the name Kitkat shouldnt be used for a snack either then...

Adrian Bridgwater said...

All I can say is ...

Android 4.4 named KitKat

Dave Edwards said...

Luke, a fair comment I suppose, but I'm not sure you can fairly apply the same logic to brands that dates back to a time when the branding landscape was far less crowded than today, and the words "branding agency" had thankfully yet to be uttered.

Luke said...

Dave, very true. Personally I have no idea why a tie up between Kitkat and Android would make me want to buy more chocolate bars or ditch my blackberry (i tried and android phone and sold it a week later). Maybe I am missing the point. I actually think it is a shame - I thought the Android nomenclature was querky. Now it is just seems akin to a TV programme that is "brought to us by Doritos" or similar. This kind of sponsorship is usually a good indicator that it is time to turn off the telly and go read a book.

Alexander McNabb said...

Chaps, taking the story at face value (and I honestly think we can), Google does this sweetie thing with its product name and wanted to use KitKat.

Nestle got smart and said yes if we can do some stuff that makes us look cool and down with the kids.

The result I think is an act of genius. It's Good For Google, Good For KitKat and, you know, it's Good For The Consumer too.

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