Kit Kat, the candy bar, got rave reviews in the marketing trades (https://www.thedrum.com/news/2018/07/10/how-kit-kat-managed-turn-viral-tweet-branded-proposal) for helping a guy propose to a gal using props supplied by Kit Kat.
In May, the gal posted a photo on Twitter to prove that her boyfriend was clueless when it came to eating a Kit Kat bar. He had chomped into it without breaking it in half first. The tweet racked up thousands of comments. Kit Kat took to Twitter and joined the conversation. Next, the brand, and I’m quoting directly, “developed an internal relationship” with him. I guess that means a bunch of emails were exchanged.
So, when the guy, wanted to pop the question to the gal, he asked Kit Kat for help. After all, Kit Kat had made him famous. His Twitter shame conferred influencer cred that made him adorably, clumsily lovable, and worthy of a “yes,” from his girlfriend. After a quick discussion, the candy company produced an engagement ring box that looked like a Kit Kat. When opened, it appeared to be “broken apart.”
Today, we can all be the stars of our own digital lives, particularly at its most intimate moments. Engagements and weddings must be documented on your wedding website and Instagram feed, and, to make sure that your older relatives know what’s what, you’ve got to maintain your Facebook profile, too. Bonus points if you can get a brand to sponsor some of your posts to offset the costs of your wedding. They’re out there, waiting for you
The candy car brand manager is quoted as saying: “Our brand is really all about providing breaks, and we want to advocate for breaks. Giving Evan (our man on Twitter) a break just fit in really nicely.” The brand manager also said he helped to keep the moment “authentic,” by not inviting TV crews to cover the proposal. Then he said the PR was cheap – reckoning the total cost at $2000. I think Kit Kats cost about two bucks. Just saying.
Brand authenticity is killing your most private and personal moments. And it’s not the brand’s fault. Marketers are just doing their jobs – really, really, well. It’s not surprising that Kit Kit chimed into Twitter conversation. Brands are primed to listen and respond playfully to positive comments about them. The social media team would be “tsk-ed, tsk-ed” if they didn’t. It’s also not a stretch for the brand’s marketers to consider extending the conversation, turning the candy faux-pas into a campaign to find other people who never ate a Kit Kat and therefore don’t know that you get maximum deliciousness by breaking it in half for the best ratio of crunchy wafer to creamy chocolate. If I were on the Kit Kat marketing team, I would certainly be thinking about how I could turn that viral second into an hour or two of attention online and in the street. I can also see how the campaign could include a role for the first guy on the planet who didn’t know how to eat the candy.
But, the article said that the guy reached out to Kit Kat when he wanted to propose. That’s what floored me. The unintended influencer turned into the “even my engagement is for sale” huckster.
Last month I read that couples that met on Bumble and Tinder used the brands in their weddings. A couple that met on Bumble had a Bumble executive officiate their wedding. When we invite “brands” to sponsor our most intimate moments, they become baked into our life stories, and the brands risk becoming more important than the dizzying, wonderful, burned-into-your-brain moment itself. I want you to marry me – and eat a Kit Kat. After all, everybody deserves a break.
Maybe the break we all deserve is one from social media. Take a break from social media, and vow to cherish those special moments as they happen in real time, unmarred by commerce, for the intimate, beautiful, personal ones that they are.