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executive vice president

What I learned from making THAT viral KitKat ad

Sam Hennig, a creative strategist at Something Big, reflects on the “manic few days“ he‘s had after a mocked-up KitKat ad he made for a One Minute Brief ended up shared across the internet, sparking admiration, confusion, and debate.

I post a lot of my ads on LinkedIn. By after this KitKat one, my normal life went on a bit of a ‘break’ (please excuse the crowbarred reference). You‘ve probably seen this ad this week. Let me tell you how it was made.

It hasn‘t been an easy year for any of us. Moving our entire lives into back bedrooms and taking all of our communications into an online space definitely had its challenges.

However, one challenge I quickly grew to love (after seeing freelance copywriter Luke O'Reilly‘s brilliant Guinness entry go viral) is that of One Minute Briefs, a platform on Twitter that sets brilliant daily briefs from the strange: ‘advertise this tortoise’ through to the meaningful and thought-provoking, such the recent brilliant brief for CoppaFeel.

From March 2020, I started posting my ideas. I loved becoming a part of the community (the OMBLES); we all jot down whatever ideas we have in whatever way best suits us. Having moved from account side across to creative in late 2019 with the support of the amazing agency I work for, Something Big, One Minute Briefs quickly became a place for me to hone my skills and learn from others.

Anyway, fast forward. Over the last couple of weeks, I noticed my ideas were gaining a wider audience on LinkedIn. One of my ideas for Adidas Yoga was re-shared by Seed to Branch and gained more than 500 likes, which for me was pretty overwhelming. So, I continued posting.

And that brings us to the KitKat brief: ‘Advertise your favourite chocolate bar.‘

I was scrolling through my calendar to have a look for when I could do the brief, and the idea came. ‘If I just block out that section there’ bingo. I just filled the space with a ‘block’ of KitKat. It was the perfect visual to show why we all love chocolate. It very quickly tells a story of that little moment of me-time and self-indulgence in an otherwise hectic day.

So, I posted on LinkedIn and it got a pretty good reaction. One comment from freelance creative director Nicholas Tasker said ‘This has the makings of an award-winning ad, but we need to make it about Kit Kat’ so we started messaging each other and refining the creative.

Before long, I reposted the idea, which garnered even more likes. It wasn’t until I was sat on my sofa on a Saturday evening and my girlfriend and her sister were watching a programme I wasn’t too interested in that I picked up my laptop and had one more go at the creative, changing the word ‘meetings’ to ‘Zoom calls’ and mocking it up as an OOH piece. I then tweeted it to Nick Entwistle at One Minute Briefs with the words ‘Gave it a go’ and then put it up on LinkedIn. That was where it all really kicked off.

On the third attempt, with the Zoom reference and mocked up in OOH, I was inundated with people resharing my work and tagging me in posts by ‘Brilliant Ads’ and ‘Famous Campaigns’. I really couldn’t believe my eyes.

Then I started to spot the odd person who had found out the ad wasn’t ‘real’ and weren’t altogether happy about the idea. It is crazy – you can get 100 nice comments but it is always the negative one that stands out.

But so many of those comments were about the media it was portrayed on, people questioned whether it mattered that it wasn’t actually an OOH piece. However, it didn’t take me long to realise that the media, wasn’t the point. This was about the idea – just because I mocked it up as an OOH piece didn‘t mean that was all it relied on, as proven by KitKat sharing across their social channels. It could just as easily be run as a digital piece.

And even as a mock-up the numbers aren’t bad; One Minute Briefs have received 2,000 new followers in the last day. My following has more than doubled.

As for the numbers of reshares and impressions, I have seen more than one post on LinkedIn with well over 10,000 likes and one with over 70,000. My original LinkedIn post alone was reshared 304 times. I don‘t have time to count all the shares. I have even had some people sending me photos of them with a Kit Kat. It really has been a whirlwind.

So, there you go, that‘s my whistle-stop tour of my last couple of days and a couple of my immediate thoughts on what it has been like. I think now it is probably time to sit back, put the kettle on and reach for a nice two-fingered chocolate treat.