The behind the scenes story on Nestlé and Google’s Android 4.4 KitKat deal

Nestle_Hauptsitz_03

Nestle HQ in Vevey, Switzerland

Earlier today, Google and Swiss-based Nestle threw the world for a loop when they officially announced Android 4.4, the next version of Android, would officially be named after the world famous name-brand chocolate treat, KitKat (not Key Lime Pie as many had believed). The BBC who was able to get the inside scoop on the deal, where they sat down with John Lagerling, Android’s director of global partnerships.

In the interview, Lagerling he patted Google and new bff Nestle on the back on the back for keeping such a massive deal heavily under wraps (pun intended). Remember, there hasn’t been a single leak made public, not even a hint. All of this despite the 2 giants meeting back during Mobile World Congress in February to discuss the deal, finalizing the deal within the hour, convincing Hershey in the US to get on board the project, and production for the packaging of 50 million KitKat bars featuring the Android tie-in kicking off over 2 months ago. We have to say, that’s pretty impressive.

Nestle KitKat Android wrappers

According to Lagerling, confidentially was “paramount” for Google. This is why many of Android’s employees and partners believed the next Android would be named after the generic key lime pie dessert, even though nothing was ever formally announced. According to Lagerling, it was all a part of Google’s master plan. You see, if Google made a big deal about keeping the next Android version a secret, it would have only gotten more attention and eventually, someone would have leaked a KitKat wrapper or something along those lines. Instead, Google was open about using the Key Lime Pie nomenclature as a decoy where, even on the Android team, only a very small, tight-knit group of individuals were privy about plans to change gears and roll with KitKat.

So, why KitKat over Key Lime Pie? At first look, it seemed to make perfect sense. Google is an ad company and it was only logical to assume that Nestle paid out big bucks to be featured as Google’s confectionery of choice. However, according to Lagerling, the partnership was not a “money-changing-hands kind of deal,” but more or less a marketing one. In the end, Google gains brand awareness, while you read this article and feel a sudden craving for a Kit Kat.

It’s true, a Google spokesperson also told The Verge something about the candy being Android engineering head Hiroshi Lockheimer’s favorite treat, but we know the decision was more than simply that. Google knows the power of “the ad” and despite 1 billion activations to date, not too many average users are familiar with Google, their mobile OS, or the devices they sell via their online store. This sweet new Nestle deal should help with that nicely.

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  • Dan

    it was all apart of Google’s master plan
    Think you meant it was all a part of…

  • DavidVarghese

    Now that you’ve mention it… I do have a sudden craving for a KitKat. Been a while since I had one too.
    But I gotta say, Nestle is getting the better deal out of this

    • Dan

      I agree, although it does give android more exposure, kind of cheapens it too though, I’m on the fence

      • DavidVarghese

        Android KitKat rolls of the tongue lot more easier than Key Lime Pie, and is far more easier to remember. So the awareness will definitely be there.
        Me and my friend was having a good snicker about how Google pulled a fast one on us Android fans, by changing the name to something we would never think of. I think it shows Google’s and Android’s playfulness and how it’s more friendly/down to earth compared to Apple per say.
        KitKat even made a parody of this, trolling Apple in the process.

        Not sure if it cheapens Android, but I can see Android being more accepted with this goofy/fun name change.

        • Mark

          Just seeing ‘Key Lime Pie’ and ‘tongue’ in the same sentence makes me gag. Yuck! I’m soooo glad KitKat is now secured in Android lore.

        • Unorthodox

          The ease of saying KitKat reminds me of Cupcake and Donut. No more silly multiple words combinations, or french-tasting Ackkklayars

          • The Phenom

            They can have a 2 for one with Mars. As they have the actually mars bar and when S comes up you have snickers.

        • bobfrea

          I agree with all you said DavidVarghese–but as our comments spell/grammar checker you are not leading by example with that post. wheew!

      • Lou_Sasshole

        It doesn’t cheapen it all.

        • Dan

          Maybe it’s just me. I never liked product placement, it annoys me to no end when a movie/tv series does it (ie: you see apple products everywhere, or all the actors go out of their way to show windows 8 is being used).

          It’s nothing against android, but I feel like a product is being pushed in my face. In this case, when I finally update to android 4.4, it will be Kit Kat.

          • Lou_Sasshole

            This is a good thing for Android in general though, and it won’t just be KitKat that gets exposure. they’ll have little BugDroids on their chocolate wrappers. From a business standpoint, this is brilliant.

    • Gideon Waxfarb

      Maybe not. If 4.4 turns out to be a buggy mess, you’re gonna see ‘Kitkat sucks’ all over the blogosphere :)

      • AMbro86

        Haha! Unforeseen downsides! I love it!

    • Unorthodox

      I am so buying a large box of Andy branded KitKats. And another one to give out this Halloween.

      • bobfrea

        If I bought a large box of KKs I couldn’t give them out. I’m not sure I’d be able to eat all of them, but I’d be opening all of them to see if I won Nexus hw or credit!

        • Unorthodox

          I can live without winning a Nexus for free, but brainwashing neighborhood kids would be priceless. Imagine every kid’s parent having to google what that green robot means!

  • DDroid45

    i mention in one of the earlier articles that im willing to bet anything that once these packages hit main stream, there wont be a iphone lover that will buy a kitkat because they are afraid of supporting andriod in anyway, haha, imma make sure i buy kitkats all throughout the first month of there release

    • AMbro86

      Then the iPhone users will be buying some fancy European chocolate as their candybar-mascot since they’ll feel left out.

      • ari_free

        haha no, they’ll be drowning their tears with lots of Key Lime Pie

  • supremekizzle

    1 billion activations a day!!! That haz to be incorrect.

    • DavidVarghese

      It seems you had a brain fart and forgot how to spell for a quick moment there.

      *has

      • supremekizzle

        Seems you had a brain fart and forgot that this is the internet.

        • DavidVarghese

          Seems like you forgot how to detect sarcasm in writing…

      • phatmanXXL [16,000+ posts]

        It probably was a cat typing that.

    • Covert_Death

      one billion TO DATE is what it should say (announced earlier today i think)

  • Tony Lai

    I want to eat one of those android shaped kit kat!!

    • http://twitter.com/gamercore Chris Chavez

      I think if I got one, I’d cover vacuum seal it in a freezer, passing it down through the generations of my family.

      • steveb944

        That’s what I NEED a vacuum seal to preserve my newly acquired Kit Kats. This will be the only refrigerated item to travel with me when I move.

      • Fel Pe

        Lol and id spend my life trying to steal it from you!!

      • ari_free

        hmm like Fruitcake :/

  • Gnex

    I hope this is a massive joke. It’s just kind of… upsetting.

    • michael centeno

      Don’t get your panties In a bunch

      • Gnex

        It’s too late. They’re in quite the bunch.

  • blest

    Am I the only one who feels Google kinda cheapened their image with this? I get it was clever. But it feels weird.

    • http://twitter.com/gamercore Chris Chavez

      I see a lot of people expressing the same sentiment across my social networks but I don’t get it. Google would turn everything into an ad if they could. This makes perfect sense in Google terms. Guess I’m in the minority that thinks it’s kinda neat seeing them go with a brand name. Really it’s no skin off my nose. *shrugs*

      • Covert_Death

        or chris could basically copy what i say :P

        • http://twitter.com/gamercore Chris Chavez

          Uh, yeah. Ditto. :P

      • blest

        Don’t get me wrong. I get it. It just feels weird. I imagined them deciding they want the other letters of updates to be other things like “Pops” cereal and you see the Android all over Kelloggs cereal boxes.

        • Covert_Death

          i think thats fun though… to me it seems like when i used to collect my sports stars cereal boxes and such.

          i still have a fresh box of “hull-o’s” from when the dallas stars won the stanley cup and Brett Hull had his own cereal (basically frosted cheerios)

          i think its fun and if they keep it up ill be buying one of every android treat and keeping it!

          • blest

            Yeah you’re right. The flipside does sound kinda cool.

          • Jeff Saul

            And then there was Flutie Flakes…

      • Mark

        People have to think outside the box. It’s not like this dessert naming scheme is some guiding principal etched in sandstone in Mountain View. Someday they are going to run out of letters, and before that (this year in fact) they’ll run out of *good* desserts.

        This dessert thing was a marketing ploy from day one. And a good one. It sparked a lot of free publicity and online buzz. But KitKat is somehow an evil sellout marketing ploy?

        • http://twitter.com/gamercore Chris Chavez

          Ha! Exactly. Now Google can go with Zingers once they hit the letter “Z” ;D

          • Eddjz

            I am guessing Twinkies for T :)

        • Covert_Death

          why this year? cause ‘L’ is next???

          Lemon Drops….. nuf said

          • AMbro86

            Except Lemon Drops can still be generic. To go with the new Google strategy of partnering with candy companies to use a brand name they should go with “Lemonheads®” as their next version.

          • https://sites.google.com/site/barry99705/ barry99705

            Lick’maid.

        • AMbro86

          Haha, you inspired me by saying “Mountain View” to think of what Google could do for “M”: Mountain Dew! Now that’s a partnership I could get behind!

          • BELIEVEinMYTH

            Love me some Mountain Dew, especially LiveWire and Pitch Black !

          • AMbro86

            Yes! I love Live Wire, it’s my all time favorite!

        • Jeff Saul

          “N” is for “Necco” wafers….

      • ThreeFourSeven

        I have no problem with the name but on a business perspective. It’s make a lot of sense.

      • aaron cooper

        I think Kit Kat is so part of the lexicon it almost seems like a generic term to ME…I have NO issue with the name, and I can still call 4.4 Key-lime if I want to.

    • Covert_Death

      i actually feel like its the opposite… instead of generic desert names going with name brand recognized treats is more “fun” i guess… IDK maybe its just because its different that it makes me smile but I am totally fine with it

    • AMbro86

      I totally feel kind of taken advantage of by having to use a brand name in reference to what version of Android I’ll be on. It’s almost like turning me into a living advertisement for a candy bar.

      Yeah I get the “fun” factor, but I can’t help but feel dirty by using Kit Kat. But then maybe I’m just feeling a little sour because I really liked “Key Lime Pie” and was totally stoked for it.

    • https://sites.google.com/site/barry99705/ barry99705

      They were goint to go with chocolate covered wafer cookies, but it doesn’t roll off the tongue like kitkat.

  • Craig S.

    Yeah it cheapened the idea of Android releases by trying to go with a brand-name like this instead of just staying with generic dessert names… It just sounds blah and kinda weird… Doesn’t make me want a Kit-Kat bar in the least… Just makes me think WTF are you thinking Google???

    • Nick V

      I am with you, but at the same time I understand why they did it. I hate being torn like this.

    • sloppybones

      Their thinking, “sure do love making more millions of dollars.”

      • sloppybones

        gah *they’re

  • mola2alex

    Pushing Nexus brand to mainstream, smooth move. Win some devices like charlies gold ticket, brilliant and very googley. I think its kinda awesome. Not sure how it cheapens the brand. I for one will buy some kk simply to try to win a device.

  • Alu Zeros

    Pretty sweet, dropping a culture bomb, Indians love kit kat bars, guess who is heading android. Coincidence, maybe, conspiracy, maybe. Cheapens android, nah. Who doesn’t like a kit kat. Something wrong with you if you don’t, or allergic.

    • AMbro86

      I’ve got nothing against Kit Kats per se, but I do feel a little dirty referring to Android by a commercial candy bar name.

    • ari_free

  • scoter man1

    I’m still gonna call it key lime pie *puts on hipster glasses*

    • AMbro86

      Haha! I love that idea. I was so on board for Key Lime Pie that calling it KitKat just feels silly. And almost like I’m being taken advantage of every time I say it in connection to the next version of Android.

  • phinn

    Android just jumped the shark.

    • AMbro86

      Well, I wouldn’t go that far. This does feel a little odd though.

  • Fel Pe

    What can I say? This is just genius. What probably started as a silly thing (naming the software versions as sweets) turned into a market masterplan for both companies. Well done. Love it. Take that apple (pie?)!!!

  • su2lly

    Kit Kat, the most popular candy bar on the planet. I get the connection. Hershey, who owns the rights to Kit Kat in the US is going to benefit greatly from this.

    • Jeff Saul

      So will the Apple counter with M&M-iOS?

      • su2lly

        No, they’ll use something more bland. Perhaps broccoli will be their next OS. See what I did there ;)

        • Max Thomas

          Naw, they’ll stick to numbers. After all, everyone loves looking at stocks when they pull down their notification shade. ;P

      • ari_free

        Mavericks heheh

  • Los

    What I find interesting is that the regular kitkat pack come with four bars and the new version is 4.4.

    • Fel Pe

      Hmm can I have some of the stuff you’ve been smoking? O.o

    • michael centeno

      You do have a point

      • Fel Pe

        Kit kat comes in so many different packages and bar quantities. I mean this was just announced today… I think is a little too early for conspiracy theories about numbers lol

    • Mike Minor

      Perhaps the head arms and feet qualify as the .4

  • Angel De La Riva

    It seems like the people who are upset and think it cheapens android are like the hipsters that turn and start to hate their favorite band when they make it big in the mainstream.

    • Roaduardo

      “I liked them before they had any fans. Now look at them, total sellouts!” Kit Kats are so played out… o_0

      • Ulfredsson The Vanquisher

        All hipsters must die.

  • V2THE1

    This is nothing shy of pure genius. All those little kids are going to see that cute little Android robot in the checkout isle of the supermarket and associate it with those affordable little Tablets that are becoming more and more popular with kids. This is just genius! Bottom line… Genius!

  • Fel Pe

    People that dont get it is just because they personally dislike kit kats and/or really dont understand Google’s business model and the fundamentals of branding strategies.

  • Jeff72

    Hmmm…I wonder what I’ll give out for Halloween this year?

    • AMbro86

      A Nexus 5 with Android 4.4?! Remind me to send my kids by your house this year!

      • Max Thomas

        Totally getting the N5 this year just to say my phone is based on Android Kit Kat. :P

    • Jeff Saul

      Yeah, I will be giving out everything BUT KitKat – those are for me!

  • Glen Shurtz

    when Google does a update to kitkat it will be called kitkat extra crisp!

  • hideeho100

    Well, this just nean s the next version after Kit Kat will be “Lollipop”.

    • ari_free

      laffy taffy!

      • BELIEVEinMYTH

        I like that ! Even though I doubt every new version will be named after a trademarked product. But….if Google could pull off that kind of marketing deal then they truly will own the world.

        • Max Thomas

          I’m placing my bets on Licorice. It’s delicious, and probably more appealing to people than something like “Lollipop” or “Lemon Marangue Pie”

    • Mike Minor

      Lemon Drops

  • koolkat2

    Google’s evil plan worked. I got 2 damn kit kat bars out of the vending machine at work right after reading about this whole thing. And i was on a diet….. Damn you google, DAMN YOUUUUUUUUUUUJJJJJ!!!

  • Michael Kenward

    Where are the proofreaders when you need them?

    “In the interview, Lagerling he patted Google and new bff Nestle on the back on the back”

    Huh?

    • jaiotu

      Proofreaders are a thing of the past. Sending copy to the proofreaders only slows the news cycle down. In the mad rush to publish content to the web the concern is with being first to post not with fixing possible gramatical/spelling issues. Or checking facts.

  • NealJ777

    In the US, “Kit Kat” is distributed by Hershey under license from Nestle. I wonder if we’ll be able to get Kit Kit bars with the Android wrapper here in the US??

    • Captain Spaulding

      Look at the one at the top right in the picture above, it doesn’t have Nestlē branding on it. I’m sure that’s the Hershey KitKat.

    • su2lly

      Yes, you will. Go to kikat.com and there’s a link that takes you to tje hershey web site

  • ari_free

    It’s very important to bring attention to new android versions like this. OEM’s weren’t in a hurry to update because they assumed most people wouldn’t notice. Now everyone wants that new KitKat OS and I think this could help solve that ‘fragmentation’ issue

    • TheHowiie

      Fragmentation isn’t really that big of an issue though, a lot of users are actually happy were they are with their out of date software surprisingly.

      • BELIEVEinMYTH

        Very true, that fact gets lost on the community quite often. Then again those are the same people that wouldnt care if their software got updated every week either.

        • TheHowiie

          .This is true too, but I for one would much rather wait on an fully functional update rather than a buggy one, which is most likely what would happen if weekly updates were the real

          • BELIEVEinMYTH

            Lol the weekly update was not a real thought. Im just saying the people that dont notice updates in general or dont care about them wouldnt even notice if they DID get updates weekly.

          • TheHowiie

            Ah, I see. Still though you make a valid point.

  • Pete

    No money changing hands… are you kidding me… Google got the short end of the stick and lost class by slapping a brand on their version IMO. Folks who hear about KitKat version might go out and buy a KitKat but the ones not already on Android are not going to go out and switch ecosystems or get their first android smartphone on a whim. On top of it they are busy patting themselves on the back. Ugh.

    • Aztec713

      KitKat probably paid Google. getting paid isn’t the short end. Plus we really don’t know the details. But when does Google do something for no reason.

      • Pete

        If they did, that would make sense. Although as per the article “However, according to Lagerling, the partnership was not a “money-changing-hands kind of deal,” but more or less a marketing one. In the end,” it sounds they didn’t.

        • The Phenom

          If this is successful you can bet it will be the new strategy used when the next update and what it entails is released.

    • BELIEVEinMYTH

      Its marketing, something Google, and Android in general has been handling very poorly. This is genius. Even if it doesnt make people drop whatever OS theyre using, it puts Andy on the wrappers of a very popular candy that is in stores almost everywhere. To me its simply advertising.

      • Pete

        I get the marketing angle but still it’s suspect. I know its not apples to apples but car manufacturers spend a ton on marketing and you don’t see cars on candy wrapper. However, I confess I try not to look at the candies when I am in store so things may be little different than what I remember.

        • BELIEVEinMYTH

          I try not to look either these days, me and the wife are candy addicts. lol.

        • Max Thomas

          If you think about it, having thousands of people even just glancing at a Kit Kat bar will raise interest, because it’s something unexpected and new from both Google and KitKat, and it’s never been done before. And once someone sees it, it just spreads by word of mouth and soon everyone knows about Android 4.4 Kit Kat. It’s genius!

  • xdapao3

    I like what they have done, very good and interesting marketing.
    I really don’t get all the negative (for no logical reason whatsoever) comments I have been reading around… are people this idiot? LOL

    • Aztec713

      I like how you say “…are people this idiot?” lol And I say yes it’s because the play store got the upgrade to the gingerbreads.

  • dhinged

    Google is run by marketers now.

    • Chris

      “now”

      Google was run by marketers before they even went public. Adwords is really the only profitable thing Google has ever done, and remains over 99% of their revenue.

      • dhinged

        Google was run by innovators before. Now all they care about is money. RIP Labs.

        • Lou_Sasshole

          That gave me a good laugh.

    • Lou_Sasshole

      See fingers removed from keyboard and refrain from posting for a while.

    • spicymeatball

      For the record I think this was pure marketing genius. Google has been slow to market Android at all. It has been sad for so many labs/beta projects disappearing while Google narrows their focus. I just hope they don’t lose their innovative culture.. That could be disastrous for us all.

  • dhinged

    Google is not an ad company. They sell ad space, not ads.

    • BELIEVEinMYTH

      Wouldnt that still make them …..an ad company ? Just saying.

      • dhinged

        Well, an ad agency makes ads for other companies, not just their own. Google makes a search engine that they sell ad space for, and have an internal division that makes ads for their own products. So they’re as much an ad company as Hershey is a wrapper company.

        • BELIEVEinMYTH

          they “have an internal division that MAKES ADS for their own products” You wrote that. Also if they “sell ad space” it still technically makes them an ad company. Google has gone way beyond just being a search engine a long time ago. Ads are almost their primary revenue right now.

          • dhinged

            They’re a search engine company. They happen to make the money for their company by selling ad space on their search results pages. Saying they’re an ad company because of that is like saying Microsoft is a search engine company because Bing is the default search engine on Internet Explorer.

          • BELIEVEinMYTH

            Ok believe whatever you want to believe dude. I’m tired of the back and forth. Point is, the partnership is genius.

  • Matt

    I, for one, am severly disappointed that Key Lime Pie was snubbed.
    As it’s the greatest dessert/treat the world over. haha.

  • cammykool

    when will these bars hit shelves?

  • Joshwa1

    Right now I’m only thinking in having a kit kat bar.

  • spicymeatball

    Pure genius. Amazing how far Android has come without a lot of marketing by Google.

  • Max

    This doesn’t cheapen android, this is a brilliant tie in. Also a pie could symbolize the fragmentation pie graph (which is bs, fragmentation is a myth), whereas kit kat is all about sharing. The pieces break off cleanly, more so then any other chocolate i can think of

  • phatmanXXL [16,000+ posts]

    Now malware also in chocolate?

  • phatmanXXL [16,000+ posts]

    Nestlé’s market share just gone way down.