KitKat brings Chocolatory to London in a bid to entice millennials with a personalised experience

It’s been a hit in Japan and Australia, and now KitKat’s pop-up chocolate factory has arrived in Europe for the first time.

Launching in London’s Westfield Stratford today (5 October), the Chocolatory sells special edition flavours (including Chili and Mint, and Divine Black Forest Gâteau) created by Michelin-starred chef Michael O’Hare, and gives the public the chance to design their own bespoke eight-finger bar. Shoppers are guided to tablets in store where they will be able to select their chocolate coating, three toppings and personalised box design.

Once their order has been placed, they can watch a group of chocolatiers bring their design to life. KitKat sends them a text once the chocolate has been chilled, boxed up and is ready to collect.

Nestle enlisted agency We Are Fearless to deliver the pop-up, however the activation concept isn’t new; it’s been so popular in Japan that eight Chocolatory’s have been made permanent throughout the country. However the strategy behind the pop-up ties in perfectly with the UK&I arm’s strategy to push personalisation.

Lisa May, marketing director UK&I for Nestle Confectionary, told The Drum that while KitKat appeals to all demographics, the personalisation element is key to reaching the elusive millennial market.

“For those between 18 and 35 it’s really about [creating] something that says something about you and what you love and something you can share with your friends and your family,” she explained.

Last year saw the brand partner with Google to prove its dedication to personalisation. The subsequent campaign saw “YouTube break” replace the KitKat logo, while fans of the brand could use Google’s Voice Search feature to discover trending videos instantly. According to May, the Chocolatory is the next step in this approach.

“I think personalisation is becoming something that we have to do as brands,” she said. “People are looking for new experiences all the time and want to share these through different digital platforms to really demonstrate who they are as an individual.”

Seventy years of breaks

May also explained how the concept of ‘Have a break, have a KitKat’ is still relevant to today’s market, 70 years since the tagline was first imagined: “It hasn’t changed as a line but what hasn’t changed is people’s lifestyles and how they break.

“Years ago it was that coffee break where you physically sat down with a cup of coffee and a Kit Kat two finger. These days we’ll be on social media or multitasking but it still feels like a break from what you've been doing. For us it's really about staying up to date with how people are living their lives and how lifestyles are changing in 2016 and beyond,” May said.

Future plans

The marketing director hinted that the brand has “something else” coming up next year that is linked to personalisation, and said she believes it is a strategy that will grow over time with the brand.

There are currently no firm plans in place to launch Chocolatories in other European markets, however the Nestle brand has recently signed a 12-month lease on a store in Malaysia and will be opening a permanent outpost in Melbourne in October.

When asked if the brand could foresee implementing a personalisation e-commerce business, May said that while there is not a specific plan at this point in time, a concept such as the Chocolatory would be “perfect” for that kind of channel.

“I think it’s a case of ‘watch this space’ to see where we go from here,” she concluded.