This spring Hershey will celebrate Kit Kat’s latest flavor, Birthday Cake. The new Kit Kat bar is available nationwide starting this month. The popular brand has been offering a variety of flavor innovation, including Kit Kat Duos Mint + Dark Chocolate, Sweet Cinnamon, and Pumpkin Pie. This release marks the third new limited-edition flavor announced in 2020, following the success of Raspberry Crème and Lemon Crisp. These offerings are from the Kit Kat flavor innovation team which is constantly working to create new flavors throughout the year. “Kit Kat Brand takes flavor seriously and aims to deliver for our fans who are just as passionate about the endless flavor possibilities,” said Justin Kukura, senior manager chocolate product development at The Hershey Company. “Kit Kat Birthday Cake delivers on the universal love of the layers of birthday cake flavor and aroma of frosting perfectly paired with the surprise crunch of sprinkles.”
PROJECT: Kit Kat Birthday Cake Bar
DESIGNER: Mary Marette Senior Manager, Strategic Design at Hershey
Because flavor innovation is key for the continued success of Kit Kat, Flexible Packaging spoke with Mary Marette, senior manager, strategic design at Hershey about the new launch.
Q: What iteration is the current packaging for Kit Kat? Is that the same for the Birthday Cake flavor?
A: In 1969, Hershey entered into a licensing agreement with Rowntree (now Rowntree Macintosh, Ltd.) to manufacture and market the Kit Kat in the United States. There has been a lot of packaging changes since then, but the Kit Kat bar intricacies of enrobing crisp wafers in chocolate has stayed the same. Kit Kat’s Birthday Cake release marks the third new limited-edition flavor announced in 2020, following the success of Raspberry Crème and Lemon Crisp. The launch of Birthday Cake marks the first time that a Kit Kat bar will include sprinkles.
Q: Take us through your process of developing packaging for this launch?
A: We wanted to create a packaging architecture that was familiar to the core portfolio while still allowing us the freedom to deliver news for the brand. We did this by creating a “staging area” on the right side of the package to hold the brand’s news — in this case, the launch of the new Limited Edition Birthday Cake. By creating a staging area, it allowed us to focus all our communication in one area so that the messaging is easy to comprehend by our consumers. We think the new packaging architecture is effective and easy to navigate as the package:
- Grabs consumers attention through the use of bold color
- Leverages strong branding with a large brand mark and product break
- Provides strong flavor comprehension with classic birthday cake cues
This trifecta of communication makes the package architecture easy to navigate and understand at a glance.
Q: How much time did the process take?
A: The process was very timely, as we had a tight creative brief and early alignment on Phase 1 creative. Design strategy, photography, production and printing were all completed in a narrow window — six months total.
Q: What were some of the challenges? How did you and your team solve them?
A: The new Birthday Cake SKU is only being sold on merchandising units for a limited time period, so the visual language of the package needed to work hard to celebrate the new flavor, as well as to communicate its short time in market. To grab consumers’ attention, we leaned into color as a means to both stand out and to elicit stronger comprehension of the new flavor. The bright blue package boldly stands out within the Kit Kat portfolio to draw consumers in, and the confetti pattern is used as a trigger to help consumers process the flavor and its associations with birthday cake in a fun and delightful manner. The classic birthday cake visual, locked up with a strong flavor communication, is central to the SKU’s birthday cake storytelling. The iconic Kit Kat product break is used as a means to further reinforce the brand’s unique product experience and the bars new look.
Q: Birthday cake is a popular flavor in the candy and snack category. Did that popularity factor into the design? If so, how?
A: Everyone has a birthday — so communicating this universally appealing flavor was made easier by this fact. Kit Kat Birthday Cake is inclusive to all potential consumers given its strong appeal and familiarity. Kit Kat Birthday Cake gives consumers looking for something new a reason to get excited about Kit Kat.