Despite KIT KAT being a treasured brand globally, it was not connecting well with Arabs. People were choosing brands that they saw most often and Mars for example was outspending KIT KAT eight-to-one in traditional media.
During a seemingly continuous state of regional revolution with high youth unemployment rates, how could a fun-loving brand like KIT KAT be relevant in people’s lives? How could it break through this crowded chocolate category?
MEC needed to answer both of these questions, with a digital-led communications campaign tailored to KIT KAT’s core audience, Adults 20-35, while remaining true to the brand essence of putting a smile in people’s breaks.
Online consumption is by and large driven by good content especially in the Middle East, where the largest country, Saudi Arabia is the #1 YouTube market in the world. Through extensive research, the agency uncovered three core truths about what resonated with KIT KAT’s core target:
1. Attracted to and inspired by talent
2. Engaged with “A slice of life” content
3. Content rooted in Humour is the most shared
KIT KAT saw the importance of humour to lift spirits and break cultural barriers with the target audience as well as for young Arab comedians.
MEC was tasked with increasing relevancy of the brand among the ‘busy go-getters’ between 20 and 35, establishing ownership of the break and ultimately increasingly sales. Countering category trends to out-sponsor other brands in high rated TV programmes, it made the perfect opportunity for the brand to steal the limelight from higher spending brands. MEC set a strategy to engage a growing online audience though humorous owned content.
With a clear understanding of the target audience’s preferences for content, KIT KAT saw the opportunity in a growing yet underdeveloped comedy scene. MEC created the first-ever Arab online comedy reality show, positioning the brand as for innovation, supporting progress and breaking traditions – while staying true to its essence as the fun-loving chocolate brand.
Comedy is, by its very nature, driven by local tastes, preferences and shared experiences. While comedy was quickly developing across the region, the show had to be a collection of local talents, not a one-size fits all approach. Therefore, KIT KAT enlisted famous comedians from Saudi Arabia, UAE and Lebanon to be its mentors and judges. The nine finalists represented five different countries.
The show had a dedicated website, kitkatcomedybreak.com, where viewers could watch episodes and clips, discuss, vote for their favourites and win prizes. All KIT KAT social media channels were transformed to focus on the show. Viewers discussed episodes on Facebook and YouTube, while interacting with contestants and celebrity judges in connected conversations on Twitter. In total, it created over 40 branded videos and aggregated hundreds of user generated comedy skits over 19 weeks.
For the first time in the region, KIT KAT would become a content producer, not just an advertiser, developing an entertaining series that provided consumers the much needed breaks that the brand has always stood for.
The first-ever Arab online comedy reality show positioned KIT KAT on the ultimate stage in its audience’s lives, allowing KIT KAT to stand out with Stand Up. It began with four celebrity judges Tony Abou Jaoude, Ali Al Sayed, Shaima Al Sayed and Fahad Al Butairi filming recruitment videos to inspire aspiring comedians to submit their own comedy skit videos. People responded. They submitted hundreds of three minute entries from a typically low-involvement audience.
The top nine amateur comedians were flown to Dubai to compete to be the next top Arab comedian. During their 10-day stay in the Comedy Break Villa, they were coached and tested. From pranks to helicopter rides, to improvisation classes and stand-up challenges, everything was planned to bring out their comedy skills.
MEC created ten 10-20 minute episodes featuring the best bits. Released every Sunday night on kitkatcomedybreak.com and YouTube, they provided an entertaining KIT KAT break after the Arab week’s first working day. The audience was integral to the show, as episodes were adapted based on live social listening; giving extra time to fan favourites and adding more Arabic content. KIT KAT was integrated seamlessly through products and branding on set and an episode was filmed in the KIT KAT factory.
The Arab world welcomed KIT KAT’s brave entrance into the comedy scene. KIT KAT became relevant, increased sales (8 % higher vs. the previous year) and changed the lives of aspiring comedians.
Over 14 years of content was consumed in 19 weeks and 3MM+ earned impressions received. The website received over 550K visitors. Thousands of votes poured in for the People’s Choice Award.
KIT KAT became the leading chocolate in digital communications. The brand’s Owned and Earned media infrastructure transformed to a fully integrated, multi-platform experience across kitkatcomedybreak.com, YouTube, Facebook and Twitter. Twitter and YouTube fan bases were built from scratch to regional Top 3 for FMCG. The KIT KAT Facebook page grew by 220,000 Likes and is ranked #1. The brand dominated online conversations, with over 50% of all chocolate chatter (vs. 35% previously). KIT KAT gained relevancy, increasing 8% in ‘provide value to my break’, 7% in likeability, and 4% in recommendations.
The effects extended beyond the brand. Three finalists, Waddah, Mohammed, and Shady, have experienced major pushes in their careers, with two booking consistent, high-profile stand up gigs and one drawing thousands of views on his own YouTube content.