Case study

How KITKAT encouraged the gaming community to take a break on Twitch

Kit Kat chocolate

When KITKAT debuted their chocolate-covered wafer bar in 1935, it was an instant hit. “Have a break. Have a KITKAT,” now a world-famous tagline, launched in 1957, and a year later, the confection appeared in its first-ever TV ad.

Fast forward to 2022, and the always innovating KITKAT approached Amazon Ads looking to reach new audiences in new ways. KITKAT was facing a common challenge plaguing many brands right now: How could they reach adult Gen Z and millennial shoppers? The team wanted to explore how they could position the heritage chocolate bar in the best way to appeal to this digitally savvy audience. The KITKAT team knew that this audience loves gaming, so they approached Amazon Ads to find the best solution.

Plugging in with gaming audiences

Twitch came to mind as a great place to reach communities of gaming fans. Whether it’s running from zombies, playing in e-sports tournaments, or taking lessons from a chess grand master, 8 million unique content creators go live on Twitch every month to share these experiences with their audiences. As the ultimate livestreaming destination, Twitch offers a place for brands, audiences, and content creators to connect in real time, making it the perfect home for the KITKAT campaign.

The Amazon Ads team put forward Twitch premium video as an advertising solution as it aligned perfectly with KITKAT’s challenge of building brand awareness and affinity within the gaming community. The Twitch premium video ads enabled brands to connect with Twitch’s hyper-engaged community by incorporating advertisements into live broadcasts across desktop, mobile, tablet, and connected TV devices.

Introducing “tilt mode”

A common feeling that gamers experience around the world, known as going on “tilt mode,” influenced the concept for the campaign. This is a term often used to describe a state of emotional frustration or anger that can affect a gamer’s performance. From making mistakes in a game to losing the game entirely, there are a number of reasons why a gamer might “go on tilt.”

A recent study from the University of California1, which explored the behaviors of e-sports players, showed that the most common response once tilt mode is triggered was to take a break from playing. This provided the perfect opportunity for a brand like KITKAT to engage with gaming audiences.

The resulting campaign featured a video ad about a frustrated gamer who was making mistakes in their marathon gaming session. The accompanying tagline reads: “Even the biggest champ needs a break.” The gamer pauses their game, takes a well-deserved rest to eat a KITKAT, and then presses play, energized to continue.

KITKAT and Twitch wanted to remind everyone: "Even the biggest champ needs a break"

Winning results for KITKAT

The partnership with Amazon Ads unlocked new opportunities for KITKAT to reach the right audiences at the right moment. The content of the campaign carefully aligned with the feelings and emotions of its audience, one of the main reasons why the campaign was so successful.

“KITKAT’s new brand strategy for The Netherlands revolves around realizing impact in different aspects of youth culture,” says Aniek Gaveel, brand manager at KITKAT The Netherlands. “The gaming community was identified as one of the most important. Twitch proved that it is able to significantly drive brand growth on our most important [key performance indicators] in this hard-to-reach community.”

One of the ways that Amazon Ads measured the campaign’s success was by setting up a Twitch research power group made up of over 600 Twitch users based in The Netherlands. Half of the group were exposed to the ad, and the other half was not, so that comparisons could be accurately measured. Among the Twitch users that had seen the ad, 9 out of 10 respondents said they were aware of the KITKAT message.2

The campaign was able to raise unaided brand awareness by 52%, which surpassed the average benchmark of unaided brand awareness across similar campaigns by 3x. Having seen the ad, audiences were also more than 2x more likely to associate KITKAT with gaming.3 Twitch viewers who watched the ad were also twice as likely to attribute the KITKAT message, “Even the biggest champ needs a break,” to the right brand, compared to the average benchmark across similar campaigns.

*Results in this case study are representative of a single advertiser/campaign and are not indicative of future performance.

1 Association for Computing Machinery, US, 2021
Twitch and Amazon Ads internal data, June 2022