The initiative, which was developed in harness with Wunderman Thompson Amsterdam, saw KitKat infiltrate EA FIFA (in FIFA Ultimate Team – FUT – Champions Weekend League mode) via 100 accounts operating as ‘The Kitto Kath Squad’ – a team made up of silver- and bronze-level players who were easy to beat.
During the Weekend League mode, players have three days to win up to 20 online games against randomly matched opponents in exchange for big virtual rewards. KITKAT wanted to give gamers in Malaysia (where FIFA is the leading gaming title among 25–35-year-olds, and second to PUBG for 18-24-year-olds) a break from the pressure that comes with the Weekend League and help them win as many games as possible.
So the ‘The Kitto Kath Squad’ players sneakily yet smartly incorporated the phrases ‘Kit’ and ‘Kat’ into their footballers’ names: these included Australian Ryan Kitto, Germany’s Florian Kath, Norwegian John Kitolano and Japan’s Chihiro Kato.
Unsuspecting real gamers in Malaysia playing FUT Champions on the weekend of 22 to 24 April were surprised when their opponents from the brand’s secret squad scored own goals and then quit the game – giving the real gamers quick, easy win. After those win, each player received a personal message from the brand: ‘Have a break. Have an easy win’.
The idea was to give gamers a break: re-emphasising the confectionary brand’s well-known ‘Have a Break, Have a KitKat’ tagline.
“The longevity of our tagline, which was first used in the 1950’s, is thanks to activations like this which demonstrate how the benefits of taking a break can be applied to all manner of situations in life,” explained KitKat Global Strategic Marketing & Communications Lead Wael Jabi. “By using a modern-day Trojan Horse and infiltrating the game from the inside, we were able to bring our tagline into the virtual world and give gamers a break from the intense competition.”
Paul Shearer, Chief Creative Officer for Global Clients at Wunderman Thompson, said: “We’re delighted to send The Kitto Kath Squad into the virtual world to give players an easy win in the FUT Weekend League. The team in Amsterdam, along with our partners in Malaysia, have done an incredible job to make this activation happen on such a scale. We hope that by creating a Squad dedicated to helping gamers have a break, we can demonstrate that stepping away from these scenarios, even for a short amount of time, will help gamers perform better in the long run.”
Wunderman Thompson APAC Chief Creative Officer Sheungyan Lo added: “Contrary to what the word ‘game’ suggests, the world of online gaming can be very competitive. Playing against the Kitto Kath Squad takes some of the pressure off and gives players’ a break from their normal routine, allowing them to get back to playing in a fun and chilled setting. Great teamwork from the Wunderman Thompson offices in EMEA and APAC to pull this together!”
Nik Sluijs and Joey Boeters, Wunderman Thompson Amsterdam Senior Creatives, continued: “While online games are fun, they require your full focus and attention, so matches can become very competitive – especially when there are big in-game rewards at stake. We drew on our own experience as gamers, tapping into the etiquette of ‘gifting wins’ to opponents to help the brand connect with this community in an authentic way and express their iconic tagline in the world of gaming.”
The initiative was created for KitKat Global Head of Marketing & Communications Wael Jabi, Digital Lead Confectionary (Nestle) Arush Kochhar, KitKat Malaysia Brand Managers Thor Su Ann and Whitney Kok and KitKat Malaysia Brand Lead Frédéric Porchet by Wunderman Thompson Amsterdam.
The agency team included Global CCO Bas Korsten, Global Chief Creative Officer Daniel Bonner, Global Client Officer Paul Shearer, Global Client Leader Sasan Saeidi,
Senior Account Director Loren Hargreaves, Executive Creative Director Carlos Camacho , Senior Creatives Nik Sluijs and Joey Boeters, Art Directors Tunchan Kalkan and Nando Correa, Producer Martijn Van Hees and Head of Gaming & eSports Grant Paterson. In APAC the agency unit include APAC CCO SheungYan Lo, Account Director Goh Jamie Su Chin, Account Managers Jason Wong and SiuLing Khoo, Junior Account Manager Denyse Tan YunXuan, Game Team Lead Cavan Ang.
Music, sound design & VO casting was handled by AMP Amsterdam and The Sonic Branding Company with a voice-over by Jonathan Joseph and edit and motion design by Tim Arnold.
This is a clever and inventive activation: an easy way for the brand to be top-of-mind within this popular gaming space.
Indeed, in Malaysia, EA’s FIFA is the leading gaming title among 25 to 35-year-old – a key KitKat target segment.
However, we can’t help but wonder whether serious FIFA gamers would be pleased about a brand interrupting their play in such an underhand, guerrilla-style.
This campaign ran just before EA and FIFA announced they were parting ways: ending their long-term partnership reportedly due to the football world governing body’s demand for double the licensing fee.
From 2023 the best known and most popular football game in the world will rebrand as EA Sports FC and continue to operate in collaboration with its 300-plus licensed partners around the world (including with UEFA, CONMEBOL, Premier League, Bundesliga, LaLiga, Serie A, and MLS etc) giving players access to more than 19,000 athletes across 700 teams, in 100 stadiums and over 30 leagues around the world
“Our vision for EA SPORTS FC is to create the largest and most impactful football club in the world, at the epicenter of football fandom. For nearly 30 years, we’ve been building the world’s biggest football community – with hundreds of millions of players, thousands of athlete partners, and hundreds of leagues, federations, and teams,” Said Electronic Arts CEO Andrew Wilson. “EA SPORTS FC will be the club for every one of them, and for football fans everywhere. We’re thankful for our many years of great partnership with FIFA. The future of global football is very bright, and fandom around the world has never been stronger. We have an incredible opportunity to put EA SPORTS FC at the heart of the sport, and to bring even more innovative and authentic experiences to the growing football audience.”