Google has announced that the latest version of its mobile operating system, Android, will be named KitKat. This continues with the company’s tradition of sweet version names like “Cupcake,” “Froyo” and “Ice Cream Sandwich.” This announcement came as a complete surprise because the new version was expected to be titled “Key Lime Pie.”.
The name idea stemmed from the fact that KitKats have been a favorite candy among the Android team since the Google product was created. After the team chose KitKat as the latest version title, they decided to reach out to Nestlé, KitKat’s manufacturer (though produced in the U.S. by Hershey). The team cold-called Nestlé’s ad agency to suggest the idea and within 24 hours, the deal was set.
In addition to the sugary name, Google will also be branding 50 million KitKat wrappers around the world with their Android KitKat logo. This part of the campaign will also offer consumers the chance to win 1,000 Nexus 7 tablets, 150,000 Google Play credits worth $5 each, and 20,000 coupons for eight-ounce bags of KitKat minis. A number of Android-shaped KitKats will also be shipped as a surprise for customers.
Not only is this co-branding effort what appears to be the first of its kind, but, as multiple reports have claimed, it is also a no-cash deal focused more on publicity than the exchange of money. The deal was created purely to do something “fun and unexpected,” as director of Android global partnerships John Lagerling has stated, and both Google and Nestle are incredibly enthusiastic about it.
Despite the enthusiasm both companies bring to the partnership, such a linking of two brands can run the risk of damaging one’s reputation. The concept of a tech company and a candy bar working together is novel and exciting, but it also means that the brands will inevitably be associated for better or for worse. Both Google and Nestle have faced criticism and controversy in the past, so their joining together only shows how confident they are in their Android KitKat project.
This step of partnering two vastly different brands could lead to many more instances of marketing-oriented cooperation between companies from entirely separate industries. Google and Nestle’s deal, should it succeed as they anticipate, will also demonstrate the benefits of working together in the name of good advertising without an absolute need for money to change hands. Either way, these companies could be paving the way for some very interesting co-branding projects in the future.