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Nestle UK tries out e-media marketing

As TV advertising costs in the U.K. soar and media fragmentation continues to complicate the market, confectionery company Nestle Rowntree UK is moving away from traditional media and delving into alternative forms of reaching its teenage market-namely e-media. 'We will increasingly...
May 1, 2001

As TV advertising costs in the U.K. soar and media fragmentation continues to complicate the market, confectionery company Nestle Rowntree UK is moving away from traditional media and delving into alternative forms of reaching its teenage market-namely e-media. ‘We will increasingly take our budget away from TV and put it in other media unless we get greater recognition and benefits,’ says Andrew Harrison, Nestle Rowntree UK marketing director. To justify the exorbitant ad rates being charged, Harrison is crusading for a new business model facilitating cross-media deals and establishing a consistent audience measurement system across all types of outlets.

TV advertising costs for Kit Kat-one of Rowntree’s kids brands-have doubled over the last 10 years, putting a lot of pressure on Nestle to find other means of communicating with its consumers. And though Nestle claims TV will remain an important part of its marketing strategy (it still makes up 60% to 65% of the company’s total annual media spend) and abandoning the medium is not in the plans, it has decidedly embraced a greater number of on-line initiatives for the Kit Kat brand.

Since part of Nestle’s broader brand strategy is increasing Kit Kat saliency to a younger, tech-savvy teen market, new media outlets like the web and cell phones present a natural marketing opportunity. In February, the candy outfit launched an Internet joint venture between Kit Kat and MSN’s text messaging service, which has 2.1 million monthly users in the U.K. The tie-in entails a branded on-screen presence for Kit Kat on MSN’s homepage, the messenger download page and the messaging screen, plus reciprocal links from MSN to Kit Kat’s website (www.kitkat.co.uk). MSN’s logo also gets presence on 50 million Chunky Kit Kat wrappers, advertising the partnership.

‘It’s typically young adults 16 to 24 using the MSN messaging service,’ says Harrison. ‘We’re also looking at some tests with mobile phones.’ There are over 40 million mobile phone users in the U.K., and over the next few months, Nestle is looking into the viability of developing Kit Kat-branded cell phone game versions of Snake, Memory and Logic for Germany and the U.K. ‘We’re in the negotiating stage at the moment and will be talking to the major networks and phone companies,’ says Harrison.

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