Nestle Quik bar aims at children

Nestle Canada will launch national tv advertising on Jan. 17 for its newest entry in the chocolate bar segment, Quik.The ads will be tagged to spots slated to run in support of Nestle Quik, the company's top-selling chocolate milk powder and...

Nestle Canada will launch national tv advertising on Jan. 17 for its newest entry in the chocolate bar segment, Quik.

The ads will be tagged to spots slated to run in support of Nestle Quik, the company’s top-selling chocolate milk powder and the established brand trademark from which Quik derives its name.

While there are risks associated with any new product launch in the highly competitive confectionery category, Quik brings with it the additional challenge of being a chocolate bar aimed almost exclusively at children.

Nestle says Quik, which began shipping out to retailers in October, is designed to appeal to children aged two to nine, with an emphasis on six- to eight-year-olds.

Many in the confectionery industry, including Adrian Sark, vice-president of marketing with Hershey Canada, question whether such a narrowly positioned brand will generate sufficient sales to turn a profit.

Sark points out chocolate bars have historically been marketed at as broad a spectrum of consumers as possible ‘because there just aren’t enough kids, and they don’t spend enough, to make sense for most products.’

While acknowledging the confectionery industry has shied away from children’s bars in the past, Carol Comery, an associate business manager with Nestle, says she does not agree with the argument that the market lacks the critical mass to support a child’s brand.

Comery says Nestle has thoroughly researched the market and she is confident that, based on its clear positioning and multi-faceted marketing strategy, ‘Quik will be viable, profitable business.’

For starters, Quik, which weighs only 20 grams, about half the size of a regular chocolate bar, looks like a children’s product.

Its brightly colored plastic wrapper, largely yellow-and-brown, readily recalls the packaging used on Nestle Quik.

As well, the wrapper incorporates a graphic of Quik bunny, the cartoon-like character that appears in Nestle Quik advertising.

Finally, the bar is a child-sized tablet of milk chocolate inlaid with a small slab of white chocolate shaped in the form of Quik bunny.

Comery points out that for added effect, the Quik bunny portion of the bar can be ‘popped out and eaten separately.’

‘Children love the play value of the two-tone concept,’ she says.

In the unlikely event a child is turned off by the appearance of Quik, they will, nonetheless, find it hard to resist the price.

At a single unit cost of 39 cents in retail stores, it sells for less than half the price of a regular chocolate bar.

Comery explains Nestle’s pricing strategy is to make Quik affordable to small children who are spending their own pocket money.

To further establish the product’s niche positioning as a children’s product, Nestle has asked its variety-, convenience- and tobacco-store retailers to place the bar in the sugar-coated candy section of their stores, rather than the confectionery section.

Comery says the logic behind the merchandising strategy is that children seeking a treat often go directly to the sugar-coated candy section because the packaging is more visually grabbing and they know the products are cheaper.

According to Comery, about half of Quik’s total sales are expected to take the form of single-unit sales to children in corner stores, while the other half will be accounted for by parents buying four-bar multi-packs in supermarkets.

Nestle is hoping youngsters, once they discover Quik on their own, will bug their parents to buy the product for use in lunches and as a snack around the house.

Comery says research suggests the brand has a strong potential for supermarket sales because parents approve of the small portions and associate the Quik brand name with ‘good value and quality products.’