How Nestlé married chocolate to Google technology

Stephen Whiteside

One of the digital ecosystem's most innovative thought leaders has presided over one of its most unusual marketing-sponsorship alignments.

Since 2009, various versions of Google's Android mobile operating system have carried generic names of candy treats – Android 1.4, commonly known as Cupcake – was the first to step into the sweet shop, followed by such goodies as Donut (1.6), Eclair (2.0), Honeycomb (3.0), Ice-Cream Sandwich (4.0), and Jelly Bean (4.1).

But it took Pete Blackshaw, Nestlé's global head of digital and social media to turn the generic indulgences into a marketing opportunity that directly tied KitKat to Google. And it happened in September 2013, when Android 4.3, still operating under the name Jelly Bean, made way for Android 4.4 KitKat.

For Blackshaw – the chair of judges for the 2013 Warc Prize for Social Strategy – the pairing made perfect sense: "We sell 1.2 billion products every day across the globe. What's interesting is that a growing percentage of those products have digital linkages," he told delegates at ad:tech New York, a two-day conference held in November 2013.