In light of a Kit Kat that was stolen from Hunter Jobbins, freshman in athletic training, both Kansas State and Hershey Co. had positive experiences with the Kit Kat giveaway on Nov. 3. The planning behind the giveaway held opportunities for both K-State students and Hershey’s.
“It all started with a Kit Kat in (Jobbins’) car and we wanted to make sure that the next experience that (Jobbins) had with Kit Kat in his car was a positive one and one that he could really help share with his fellow classmates and students at K-State,” Shilpa Gadhok, associate brand manager for Kit Kat, said.
In fact, the connection between Kit Kat, Hershey’s and K-State does not start or end with the stolen Kit Kat. J.P. Bilbrey, Hershey’s president, CEO and chairman of the board, is a K-State psychology alum. He returns for visits and events, often sporting his company’s products.
“Pat Bosco is one of my fraternity brothers and so if I come back for a football game, he and I will get a whole trunkload of Hershey bars and hand them out to everybody in line for the football game or at a basketball game,” Bilbrey said. “We just try to make it a lot of fun.”
Nonetheless, upon first hearing of the stolen Kit Kat, Gadhok said the Kit Kat team was both “amused” and “surprised.”
“You don’t hear about many situations where Kit Kats are the sole reason for a break-in,” Gadhok said.
Overall, Gadhok said the experience with Jobbins and K-State was a positive one.
“It was definitely a funny event and something that I think was very lighthearted, which (Jobbins) took in that way as well,” Gadhok said. “So it was all positive for us all around and something we really wanted to act upon and help engage with (Jobbins) and with the students at K-State.”
Bilbrey said the genuine lightheartedness of Jobbins’ story is difficult to come by.
“It has to have an authenticity to it,” Bilbrey said. “I think people can see that most easily. This is the kind of thing we’re always looking for, but it also is not perfectly common that these kinds of fun things come around.”
Bilbrey also talked about how social media was at the heart of this story and how it has allowed Hershey’s to be able to stay connected with its consumers.
“What’s interesting about this, is in this era of digital and social media and things happening in real time, it provides opportunities for us to have really great interactions with consumers and things that are actually happening in their lives,” Bilbrey said.
Through the use of social media, the Kit Kat brand team was not only able to reach out to Jobbins, but also develop a specific plan of action.
“We ended up coming up with the idea that we would fill his car with Kit Kats and we would basically be there on the ground to help him pass them out to students and really just engage with his student audience and allow us to also give the students at K-State a well-deserved afternoon break with a Kit Kat,” Gadhok said.
Daniel Tirol, senior brand manager for Kit Kat, said the break they provided to students represented what their brand is all about.
“The brand is all about lighthearted breaks, and we felt like this was a great opportunity for us to showcase how Kit Kat can give a lighthearted and fun break to do something like (Jobbins) and give him back all the Kit Kats he lost,” Tirol said.
In addition to the candy and the break, there was also an opportunity for K-State’s Public Relations Student Society of America students to participate in the execution of the event. Anna Siggers, junior in public relations and photographer at the event, said it gave her experience and insight for what she hopes her future career in public relations will be like.
“It was definitely a spur-of-the-moment opportunity and sometimes you just have to take a risk and go with it,” Siggers said.
Siggers said because of the risk she took, she was able to get experience in her field and use the photos she took to commemorate the event.