Monday, September 09, 2013
Microsoft, Nokia, Samsung, Google and KitKat
Last week was a humdinger when it came to technology news. Microsoft is buying Nokia’s cellphone division for $7.2 billion. Samsung revealed its Galaxy Gear “smartwatch,” and Google announced that its new Android mobile operating system (OS) would be called KitKat. That Google should choose a well-known Nestlé brand name for its OS might be the least important, but it is still interesting.
In the past, Google has codenamed each Android release after generic cakes, deserts and candy but this time opted for a brand name product. According to the BBC coverage, this choice was inspired by the fact that KitKats were one of the snacks kept in the Google kitchen for late-night coding.
John Lagerling, director of Android global partnerships, told the BBC that the idea was to do something "fun and unexpected."
The BBC article also suggests that once Nestlé learned of the plan there was little hesitation in agreeing to the arrangement. Patrice Bula, Nestlé's marketing chief, is reported as saying, "Very frankly, we decided within an hour to say let's do it." No money exchanged hands on the deal so why would Nestlé be so keen to agree to the proposition?
One of the most important things a brand can do once it has identified what makes it meaningfully different from the alternatives, is to ensure that the brand remains vital, contemporary and part of popular culture. As a long-lived brand that has featured the concept of taking a break in its advertising since 1958, KitKat could run the risk of seeming dated unless it constantly seeks to boost its vitality.
So what does the Google deal bring? If nothing else it will improve the salience of the KitKat brand. But I suspect that the chance to align with a tech brand of Google’s status will also confer associations of being modern and trendy, two qualities that one does not normally associate with a confectionary brand.
I doubt that most people would know whether their Android OS was named KitKat, Key Lime Pie or Ketchup. This time, however, the Android character will appear on KitKat bars as part of a promotion that gives purchasers the opportunity to win a Nexus 7 or credits to buy digital apps and media from Google’s Play store.
So what do you think of the Android and KitKat association? Does Google gain anything from the deal beyond a fun name? Please share your thoughts.
This entry was posted on Monday, September 09, 2013
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