In our last post we looked at Microsoft and Nokia - the latest high profile tech merger - but this week our attention has been drawn to a much more unconventional link up as Nestle have agreed that Google’s latest Android operating system can be named Android KitKat!
Google traditionally name their Android OS after desserts or confectionary in ascending alphabetical order as new editions are released, starting with version 1.5, Cupcake in 2009. Subsequent names have included Donut, Éclair and Jelly Bean, and they had code named version 4.4 as Key Lime Pie (as the next letter in the series was K). However, somebody in the Android Marketing Department approached Nestle with the idea of adopting the name KitKat.
A Sweet Deal
No money has changed hands as the deal is mutually beneficial (and possibly a bit of fun, rather than a serious business move). What it has allowed for though is the opportunity for some fun and quirky marketing gimmicks. The Nexus 7 device and Google Play vouchers are already up for grabs in the States for those lucky enough to find a winning ticket in their KitKat wrappers, and Google have erected a KitKat Android statue outside their HQ in Mountain View, California. The KitKat website has had a makeover too, presenting the chocolate bar as a biscuity mobile device with puns-a-plenty. They have even gone to the trouble of creating this excellent KitKat Keynote, poking fun at Apple Design SVP Jonathan Ive.
While on the face of it the deal appears to benefit both parties, there is chance for one or both brands to be tarnished. Google will have their Android brand splashed all over KitKat wrappers and be subject to numerous promotions. In return, KitKat will be associated with the most popular mobile operating system in the world. If the operating system is a failure however, then Nestle run the risk of having one of their most popular lines of confectionary connected to a high profile letdown. The whole situation seems much more of a gamble for Nestle than it is for Google.
Not So Sweet?
From where I’m standing, Nestle and the KitKat brand have much more to gain/lose from the partnership. If the OS is an overwhelming flop, it will forever be bookmarked in peoples’ minds as “that terrible version named after a KitKat”. You can bet tech journalists everywhere are pre-writing witty headlines in the event that Android KitKat suffers technical issues or “has a break”.
Google in the meantime attempt to maintain their squeaky clean image and continue to come up with names associated with sweets and chocolate. That said, Nestle are currently/perpetually being boycotted for various reasons by numerous different human rights and political groups. Quite why a company whose motto is “Don’t be evil” would want to associate with Nestle - who are renowned for a plethora of dastardly activities - can only be explained by Google.