After 50 years, KitKat takes a break from the slogan that made its name

First the thin, foil wrapping was ditched for a sturdy plastic amid flagging sales. Now KitKat, the chocolate bar credited with spurring Britain to victory over Hitler, is undergoing a further makeover to retain its place in the nation's affections - by taking a break from its slogan.

First the thin, foil wrapping was ditched for a sturdy plastic amid flagging sales. Now KitKat, the chocolate bar credited with spurring Britain to victory over Hitler, is undergoing a further makeover to retain its place in the nation's affections - by taking a break from its slogan.

Nestlé Rowntree, the Swiss-based conglomerate that has seen the popularity of its once top-selling British chocolate brand wane, announced yesterday that it is replacing the brand's catchphrase of the past 47 years: "Have a break ... have a KitKat."

The wafer-finger snack suffered a dramatic shift in its fortunes last year when sales dropped nine per cent to £95.2m and it was deposed by Dairy Milk as the most popular product in a British confectionery market worth £6bn a year.

Earlier this year the company's new managing director described Nestlé Rowntree as a "business in crisis" amid ruthless competition from rivals such as Cadbury, which is launching a direct competitor to KitKat.

But Nestlé insisted last night that the new KitKat slogan, which it was forced to confirm after news of the overhaul was leaked, had no links to its sales problems and was instead being brought in to recognise the "changing structure" of the time-poor British work-place.

Harried chocolate eaters, who, according to the manufacturer, eat 47 KitKats every second, will now be enticed with the words: "Make the most of your break". A spokesman for Nestlé Rowntree said: "Our findings indicated that the workplace break is now less structured and formal. The new slogan is acknowledging that a break is less formalised but, even it is for five minutes, you can maximise your enjoyment with a KitKat."

The marketing makeover, which will be backed with a £5m television advertising campaign due to begin next month, is just the latest attempt by a retailer to improve its fortunes by changing its catchphrase. Nestlé Rowntree executives will be hoping to follow the example set in 2002 by their rivals at Mars. When the company changed the slogan for their bar from "A Mars a day helps you work, rest and play" to "Pleasure you can't measure" sales increased by 20 per cent. The relaunched Mars was also 2.5g lighter and had fewer calories to meet the demands of diet-conscious consumers.

Nestlé Rowntree said it had no plans to change the taste or content of KitKat, pointing out that it had seen sales of the brand rise by 10 per cent in the past two months. But the company has nonetheless made radical changes to the brand that was originally launched in 1935 as Rowntree's Chocolate Crisp and was endorsed by Winston Churchill's wartime government as a cheap and healthy source of nourishment.

In 1999, the company launched KitKat Chunky, a single-fingered alternative to the traditional four-fingered bar. Two years later, the old foil-and-paper sleeve wrapping which had featured in previous advertising campaigns was replaced with foil-lined plastic. Now the bar is sold in at least five different versions, including a low-carbohydrate bar to entice fans of the Atkins diet.

A lemon cheesecake flavour, already popular in Germany and Japan, is likely to appear in Britain and research has been carried out on versions with spices such as cumin.

But the diversification has coincided with setbacks. Last year, Nestlé Rowntree lost its position as the top-selling manufacturer in the UK and was overtaken by both Cadbury Trebor Bassett and Masterfoods, the maker of Mars bars.

The competition is only likely to intensify. Cadbury announced last month that it is to launch a wafer version of Dairy Milk. More recently, the company, formed in 1989 when Nestlé bought the York-based confectioner Rowntree, lost an attempt to have the KitKat phrase "have a break" registered as a trademark.

Chris White, the managing director of Nestlé Rowntree, who said his use of the word "crisis" applied only to the firm's marketing, has vowed to restore the company and KitKat to its former status.

Some observers were sceptical last night that it could be achieved through marketing alone. A senior executive for one marketing company said: "The UK is a saturated market when it comes to chocolate - we all eat about eight kilos of the stuff a year and all the medical advice is to reduce that amount - drastically. Changing a slogan isn't going to help much."

Other marketers said it could be a shrewd move. Rita Clifton, chief executive of the Interbrand consultancy, said: "It is true that the old slogan is probably over-recognised. There is a rationale to doing something a bit different but without losing that association with a 'break'. We might no longer be all taking 15 minutes on the shop floor but it is still a powerful message."

CLASSIC CAMPAIGNS

"A Mars a day helps you work, rest and play": The sing-song slogan, so similar to "an apple a day keeps the doctor away", was discarded by Mars after 40 years in March, 2002, to be replaced by, "Pleasure you can't measure". Sales had fallen sharply.

"Guinness is good for you": Still remembered from its start in 1929, although Guinness abandoned it decades ago. Scientists at Wisconsin University said it may be true: stout may have anti-clotting properties that cut the risk of heart attacks.

"I liked it so much, I bought the company": Victor Kiam coined this for the Remington microscreen shaver in 1979 and the advertisements ran for a decade. The boast made Mr Kiam, who died at 74 in 2001, famous worldwide. The new slogan is, "For an incredible close, comfortable shave".

Sport
Brazilian fans watch the match for third place between Brazil and Netherlands
world cup 2014Brazil 0 Netherlands 3: Dutch pile on the misery in third place playoff
Sport
Robin van Persie hands his third-place medal to a supporter
Van Persie gives bronze medal to eccentric fan moments after being handed it by Blatter
News
Ian Thorpe had Rio 2016 in his sights
people
Life and Style
Swimsuit, £245, by Agent Provocateur
fashion

Diving in at the deep end is no excuse for shirking the style stakes

PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
ebookA unique anthology of reporting and analysis of a crucial period of history
News
scienceScientists have developed a material so dark you can't see it...
News
Monkey business: Serkis is the king of the non-human character performance
peopleFirst Gollum, then King Kong - now the actor is swinging through trees in Dawn of the Planet of the Apes
Arts and Entertainment
Blackman: Landscape of children’s literature does not reflect the cultural diversity of young people
booksMalorie Blackman appeals for a better ethnic mix of authors and characters and the illustrator Quentin Blake comes to the rescue
Voices
Mrs Brown's Boy: D'Movie has been a huge commercial success
voicesWhen it comes to national stereotyping, the Irish know it can pay to play up to outsiders' expectations, says DJ Taylor
Arts and Entertainment
Curtain calls: Madani Younis
theatreMadani Younis wants the neighbourhood to follow his work as closely as his audiences do
Life and Style
Douglas McMaster says the food industry is ‘traumatised’
food + drinkSilo in Brighton will have just six staple dishes on the menu every day, including one meat option, one fish, one vegan, and one 'wild card'
Life and Style
Once a month, waistline watcher Suran steps into a 3D body scanner that maps his body shape and records measurements with pinpoint accuracy
techFrom heart rates to happiness, there is little this fast-growing, self-tracking community won't monitor
Sport
Mario Balotelli, Divock Origi, Loic Remy, Wilfried Bony and Karim Benzema
transfersBony, Benzema and the other transfer targets
News
Soft power: Matthew Barzun
peopleThe US Ambassador to London, Matthew Barzun, holds 'jeans and beer' gigs at his official residence. He says it's all part of the job
Sport
Joe Root and James Anderson celebrate their record-beaking partnership
cricketEngland's last-wicket stand against India rewrites the history books
News
Gavin Maxwell in Sandaig with one of his pet otters
peopleWas the otter man the wildlife champion he appeared to be?
News
Rowsell says: 'Wearing wigs is a way of looking normal. I pick a style and colour and stick to it because I don't want to keep wearing different styles'
peopleThe World Champion cyclist Joanna Rowsell on breaking her collarbone, shattering her teeth - and dealing with alopecia
Independent
Travel Shop
the manor
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on city breaks Find out more
santorini
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on chic beach resorts Find out more
sardina foodie
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on country retreats Find out more
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs Media

(Junior) IT Systems Administrator / Infrastructure Analyst

£28000 - £32000 per annum + pension, 25 days holiday: Ashdown Group: A highly ...

Sales Engineer - Cowes - £30K-£40K

£30000 - £40000 per annum: Deerfoot IT Resources Limited: Sales Engineer - Cow...

Web / Digital Analyst - Google Analytics, Omniture

competitive: Progressive Recruitment: My client who are a leading publisher in...

Sales Perfomance Manager. Marylebone, London

£45-£57k OTE £75k : Charter Selection: Major London International Fashion and ...

Day In a Page

Iraq crisis: How Saudi Arabia helped Isis take over the north of the country

How Saudi Arabia helped Isis take over northern Iraq

A speech by an ex-MI6 boss hints at a plan going back over a decade. In some areas, being Shia is akin to being a Jew in Nazi Germany, says Patrick Cockburn
The evolution of Andy Serkis: First Gollum, then King Kong - now the actor is swinging through the trees in Dawn of the Planet of the Apes

The evolution of Andy Serkis

First Gollum, then King Kong - now the actor is swinging through the trees in Dawn of the Planet of the Apes
You thought 'Benefits Street' was controversial: Follow-up documentary 'Immigrant Street' has got locals worried

You thought 'Benefits Street' was controversial...

Follow-up documentary 'Immigrant Street' has got locals worried
Refugee children from Central America let down by Washington's high ideals

Refugee children let down by Washington's high ideals

Democrats and Republicans refuse to set aside their differences to cope with the influx of desperate Central Americas, says Rupert Cornwell
Children's books are too white, says Laureate

Children's books are too white, says Laureate

Malorie Blackman appeals for a better ethnic mix of authors and characters and the illustrator Quentin Blake comes to the rescue
Blackest is the new black: Scientists have developed a material so dark that you can't see it...

Blackest is the new black

Scientists have developed a material so dark that you can't see it...
Matthew Barzun: America's diplomatic dude

Matthew Barzun: America's diplomatic dude

The US Ambassador to London holds 'jeans and beer' gigs at his official residence – it's all part of the job, he tells Chris Green
Meet the Quantified Selfers: From heart rates to happiness, there is little this fast-growing, self-tracking community won't monitor

Meet the 'Quantified Selfers'

From heart rates to happiness, there is little this fast-growing, self-tracking community won't monitor
Madani Younis: Five-star reviews are just the opening act for British theatre's first non-white artistic director

Five-star reviews are just the opening act for British theatre's first non-white artistic director

Madani Younis wants the neighbourhood to follow his work as closely as his audiences do
Mrs Brown and her boys: are they having a laugh?

Mrs Brown and her boys: are they having a laugh?

When it comes to national stereotyping, the Irish – among others – know it can pay to play up to outsiders' expectations, says DJ Taylor
Gavin Maxwell's bitter legacy: Was the otter man the wildlife champion he appeared to be?

Otter man Gavin Maxwell's bitter legacy

The aristocrat's eccentric devotion to his pets inspired a generation. But our greatest living nature writer believes his legacy has been quite toxic
Joanna Rowsell: The World Champion cyclist on breaking her collarbone, shattering her teeth - and dealing with alopecia

Joanna Rowsell: 'I wear my wig to look normal'

The World Champion cyclist on breaking her collarbone, shattering her teeth - and dealing with alopecia
Bill Granger recipes: Our chef gives raw ingredients a lift with his quick marinades

Bill Granger's quick and delicious marinades

Our chef's marinades are great for weekend barbecuing, but are also a delicious way of injecting flavour into, and breaking the monotony of, weekday meals
Germany vs Argentina World Cup 2014 preview: Why Brazilians don't love their neighbours Argentina any more

Anyone but Argentina – why Brazilians don’t love their neighbours any more

The hosts will be supporting Germany in today's World Cup final, reports Alex Bellos
The Open 2014: Time again to ask that major question - can Lee Westwood win at last?

The Open 2014

Time again to ask that major question - can Lee Westwood win at last?