Have a Break: The Japanese Way

Current scenario of marketing is mainly extending geometrically, pushing outskirts in various domains such as: quantitatively, behaviourally and tactically with quite improved innovation and on an inexorably globalized premise.


Western advertisers are adroit at taking into account the tastes of Japanese buyers, with peculiar items, for example, McDonald’s Filet-O-Shrimp burgers and a cucumber-seasoned soda by Pepsi. Keeping them scenarios in mind, Nestle took a huge risk by upping their creative idea of only-in-Japan products by coming up with variant unnoticed flavours for “Kit-Kat” which is one of the best retailing chocolate candy bar in the world with the No.1 rank of brand confection in Japan.


Different and Limited Editions of Kit-Kat in Japan.

With introducing 18 other outlandish flavours, in 2010 Nestle took product localization in the country to a different culinary level. On today’s date, over 40 different of Kit-Kat’s alone are sold in Japan. Flavours including, Wasabi, Strawberry Che
esecake, Lemon Vinegar and Cucumber are one of the most famous ones. Amongst them the one that has been outstanding is the Green Tea flavoured and the Soy Sauce flavoured which is ranked No.1 in the country.

The strategy started in 2007 with very few flavours but then escalated into being a national prodigy. Kit-Kat now ranges from Yubari Melon and Baked Corn coming from the Hokkaido Island to Green Beans and Cherries from the Tohoku in the northern region of Japan. The Yuzu fruit and the red potato flavours come from the Kyushu Island at the southern apex of the country. Blueberry, Sweet Potato and Kinako (termed for Soya Bean) flavours come form the Kanto region including the capital, Tokyo.

Kit Kat – “Kitto Katsu” (Japanese translation for “Surely Win”)


Inside a Japanese post office decorated for the Kit-Kat Campaign.

Although Japan is famous for their most sophisticated digital marketing ad campaigns, Nestle focused on a basic root level Kit-Kat’s campaigns. One of them popular countries, who still believe in gift giving riotously, Japan; Nestle came up “surely win” translation of Kit-Kat of “Kitto Katsu” and comprehended that it could be paired to sending good luck for the students before their entrance examinations for their higher education through the Post Offices in the country.

Nestle is partnered with the Japanese postal service in where, a “Kit-Kat Mail” posted would be counted to be as one postcard sent for the student with a choice of Kit-Kat in the mail attached with the postcard for a good-luck charm. This strategy earned Nestle and the JWT, Tokyo, the Media Grand Prix in June 2009 at the 56th Cannes Lions International Advertising Festival.

Most of these unusual flavours are introduced in the market for a very limited amount of time. This strategy is used by Nestle for the customer


Map of Kit-Kat regional Flavours in Japan.

s to try something new till the time they can and then taken off the market without it
been able to grow the taste on the customers. Consumers tend to buy them flavours in lot and store them in “Happy Bags” which are further used during the gift-giving periods in the country, peculiarly during New Years. This allowed the consumers to fashion their own creative bags of their favourites adding the value to their bag. Michael McLaren, McCann World-group’s then regional director, Asia/Pacific and CEO, Japan who worked with Nestlé’s branding in the country mentioned the rise of solidarity in the country by coming up with these flavours in their own country itself.




Wilkie, W and Moore, E, 2003. Scholarly Research in Marketing: Exploring the “4 Eras” of Thought Development. Journal of Public Policy & Marketing, [Online]. 22(2), 116-146. Available at: http://business.nd.edu/faculty/pdf/11237412.pdf [Accessed 18 April 2016].

AdvertisingAge. 2010. Soy-Sauce-Flavored Kit Kats? In Japan, They’re No. 1. [ONLINE] Available at: http://adage.com/article/global-news/marketing-nestle-flavors-kit-kat-japan-markets/142461/. [Accessed 18 April 2016].

Break with Kit Kat. 2015. Global Business Strategy. [ONLINE] Available at: http://breakwithkitkat.weebly.com/global-business-strategy.html. [Accessed 18 April 2016].


Siddhesh Gurav



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