Latest Android Platform Takes Kit Kat's Name

In a partnership sure to drive maximum buzz for both parties, Google announced that it is naming its upcoming 4.4 version of the Android mobile operating system "Android KitKat."

Google is licensing the Kit Kat name from The Hershey Company in the U.S., and from Hershey parent Nestle as part of a larger global partnership.

Google raised the idea, and the partnership involved no exchange of money, Google told BBC News.

The announcement surprised techies, because Google had been referring to 4.4 as "Key Lime Pie" in internal documents and talks with partners.

But Google realized that the pie might not have the worldwide recognizability that Kit Kat has -- and Kit Kat has been "a favorite go-to snack among the [Google] team since the early days of Android," said Marc Vanlerberghe, director of Android marketing.



Previous Android versions have been named after generic sweets, in alpha order by their first letter (Cupcake, Donut, Eclair, Froyo, Gingerbread, Honeycomb, Ice Cream Sandwich and Jelly Bean), so a "k" name was next up.

The Android KitKat name "brings together two icons from pop culture and technology and gives the classic [Kit Kat] jingle 'Gimme a Break' a whole new meaning in the tech world," said Jennifer Podhajsky, VP, U.S. Chocolate, The Hershey Company.

Among other brand benefits, the partnership should help drive awareness of the current launch of Kit Kat Minis. 

Of course, as branding experts frequently point out, associating two brands also always carries the risk that one brand/company will make a serious misstep that ends up damaging the partner brand's reputation, as well. 

As part of the campaign, Kit Kat and Google are offering consumers in the U.S. and some other markets the chance to win 1,000 Nexus 7 tablets, 150,000 Google Play $5 credits, and 20,000 coupons for a free 8-ounce bag of Kit Kat Minis. To enter, consumers use a code found on the wrapper of specially marked Kit Kat 1.5-ounce bars, and enter it on to see if they've won. The promotion will run between Sept. 6 and Jan. 31.

More than 50 million specially branded Kit Kat bars will be available in 19 markets, including the U.S., Australia, Brazil, Germany, India, Japan, Russia and Middle Eastern countries.

Kit Kat is also launching branded USA Facebook and Google pages to help hype the Android news.

In addition, Kit Kat's updated Web site takes a tongue-in-cheek approach to publicizing the new Android connection, by treating Kit Kat as if it were itself a new tech product -- including "tech specs" like "1 finger long" and "4 fingers wide," for example. 

Sample copy:  "Why you'll love Kit Kat 4.4. Under its sleek exterior, we've ensured maximum breakability in Kit Kat 4.4. This is due to the refined praline software, crisp waferware and its unique chocolate unibody. Just unwrap, break, snap and enjoy."

A giant statue of the Android made out of Kit Kat bars will reside at Hershey's headquarters in Hershey, Pa.

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