KitKat | Share a break


KitKat | Share a break

As part of an innovative web-to-print campaign for Nestlé in 2016, Ultimate Digital combined its digital print expertise with its Smartflow web-to-print system to deliver personalised KitKat packs. Sharp Iris Ltd (now Proper Creative Ltd) , the artwork agency and creators of Smartflow, created the variable data artwork templates and designed a workflow which incorporated fulfilment and delivery for this hugely exciting project.

The big idea

The promotion featured across all KitKat packs and from 1st February consumers were able to enter online using wrapper codes. The lucky winners could upload photos and personalised ‘Break Messages’ to produce their own unique KitKat wrapper. The personalised KitKat 4 Finger Milk packs were packed on standard production lines at Nestlé’s York factory with each being posted to the winners in a gift box. The main difference to other campaigns of this kind, particularly in confectionery, was that it was the primary wrapper being personalised rather than adding secondary packaging such as a sleeve. So not only did it look more authentic, it also minimised the environmental impact of the campaign. (Not to mention recipients being unable to throw away or even eat such a prized possession!)

Nestlé Confectionery’s Business Unit Head, for KitKat and Biscuits, Haseeb Rahman, had this to say, “This promotion tapped into the current trend for personalisation, giving consumers the chance to win a personalised 4 Finger pack for themselves or to give to a friend or loved one. More than 56,000 unique personalised packs were on offer in the prize promotion. The campaign was backed with a £1m media budget across digital and social media.”

Due to their expertise in HP Indigo digital print technology, Sharp Iris and Ultimate Digital played an integral role from initial conception to completion of this ambitious campaign. The company’s unique bespoke web-to-print Smartflow system, originally developed to streamline their design-to-print process and rip millions of individual artworks to its digital presses, also had the capability to fully interact with front-end consumer websites to deliver a complete online platform for digital web-to-print campaigns. Smartflow was used in this way for this KitKat project, and it also provided complete supply chain control, traceability, and individual product and detailed report analysis.

Chris Tonge, Executive Director, Ultimate Group, said, “It was fantastic to be involved in such a high-profile digital personalisation project for such an iconic Nestlé brand. Now the first personalised packs are starting to arrive with customers, I am sure the social media campaign on Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube, etc., will really start to gain momentum.”

There were some challenges

The initial challenge with this project was to produce a digitally printed film that would pack fast down a normal production line incorporating both a release lacquer and cold seal to mimic conventionally printed KitKat films.

However, after a couple of trials, this was achieved, and the design was digitally printed using 4-colour process and white. Either of Ultimate Digital’s HP Indigo presses could be used to achieve the Nestlé standard.

The personalised packs were printed in weekly batches of around 7-8 thousand packs, and each one had a unique barcode and identification code generated from Smartflow that was linked to the original competition entrant. The printed reels from Ultimate Digital were then delivered back to Nestlé for packing.

Once packed, the personalised KitKats were returned to Ultimate for the individual packing and dispatch process. Each pack was scanned with the unique image appearing on screen to check, and the customer address label was generated by Smartflow, put into a gift box, and collected by Royal Mail for delivery.


Stephanie Scales, Brand Manager, KitKat and Biscuits, said, “It was really great working with the Sharp Iris and Ultimate Digital team. It was clear from the start that they were experts in digital print and Smartflow, and their in-house packing and distribution capability helped Nestlé deliver probably the most complicated campaign we have attempted. The uptake by customers to personalise their packs and activity on social media was excellent.”