Last week, Nestlé and Google announced that they are teaming up on a new campaign for the chocolate bar KITKAT entitled “YouTube My Break.” Nestle will swap out the word for ‘KITKAT’ for ‘YouTube’ on over 600,000 wrappers as part of the company’s “Celebrate the Breakers Break” promotion. These limited edition KITKATS are on sale in the UK and Ireland, and represent the biggest rebranding of the candy wrapper in 80 years.

Could this become a new trend in the digital video marketing business? Before I repackage a little tongue-in-cheek humor as “tactical advice” or rebrand a few bits of idle speculation as “strategic insight”, let’s take a hard look at some critical data – and we won’t sugarcoat the facts.

Have a Break, Have a YouTube Video

Consumers who buy the limited edition wrappers will also have easy access to the current trending video content on YouTube via their mobile devices. A search for ‘KITKAT YouTube My Break’ on a smartphone will return a playlist of the top four trending videos to the viewer (if they sit through a promo piece on the campaign first):

Of course, it’s not the first partnership between the Google and the food brand. The search giant named its Android OS 4.4 update after the iconic chocolate bar. The press release from by Nestlé and Google generated a huge amount of publicity for both brands. According to Google News, there were 78 articles about “YouTube My Break” in the past week. But what has the campaign done for the KIT KAT YouTube channel?

Well, according to exclusive data from Tubular Labs, the channel has experienced steady growth over the past 90 days. However, the 176,000 views added by the channel during the week of May 11th don’t come close to the 393,000 views added the week of Feb. 16th or the 348,000 views added the week of April 13th. And the 73 subscribers added the week of May 11th doesn’t come close to the 188 subscribers added the week of May 4th or the 92 subscribers added the week of March 9th.

KitKat Growth Graphs weekly

Subscriber count and view growth for KIT KAT YouTube channel between 04/19/15 and 05/19/15. (Exclusive data via Tubular Labs)

Nestle has released a number of videos around the campaign One is a collaboration with YouTube darling Marcus Butler. As of Tuesday, May 19, it had more than 90,000 views, 680 YouTube engagements, 28 Facebook shares, and 475 Twitter tweets.

By far the most successful (in terms of views – which looking at he engagement figures are mostly provided by paid promotion) is the first video in the wider “Celebrate the Breakers Break” campaign. Since it was uploaded on Feb. 2nd, the video has generated over 1 million views.

Nestle has certainly embraced collaborations as part of the promotion, with comedy duo Jack and Dean, and with French Canadian filmmaker, Patrick Boivin

Collabs are Pushing the KITKAT Campaign

So, Nestlé’s “Celebrate the Breakers Break” campaign seems to be generating views, engagements, shares, and tweets, but the “YouTube my break” part of the campaign doesn’t seem to be adding all that much. In other words, KITKAT consumers may also be YouTube fans, but YouTubers – who can’t buy limited edition KITKAT packs outside of the UK and Ireland – don’t appear to be all that interested in watching a KITKAT video followed by a playlist of the latest top four trending YouTube videos.

Celebrate The Breakers BreakNow, this will come as disappointing news to the 78 journalists and bloggers who wrote articles about “YouTube My Break” in the past week. Lacking access to a video intelligence platform, they jumped to the wrong conclusion that combining KITKAT and YouTube would become a win-win scenario.Even I had fallen victim to that assumption, until I took a hard look at some critical data. In fact, I convinced my editor that it was worth writing a column that speculated on these kinds of hookups becoming a new trend in the digital video marketing business.

I imagined that Mars and Facebook would announce that Snickers had become the official News Feed. Or that Hershey’s and Twitter would announce that Kisses had become the official Favorites. Or that Mondelēz International and Instagram would repackage Honey Maid graham crackers. Or, that Kellogg’s and Vine would rebrand Froot Loops. What a total waste of time.

About the only thing that I can salvage from my idle speculation is this strategic insight: Let’s go back and take a look at the part of Nestlé’s “Celebrate the Breakers Break” campaign that’s generating results. I’m talking about the new short films from Patrick Boivin as well as Jack & Dean for KITKAT. It appears that collaborating with established YouTube creators who are already reaching your target demo will get you farther faster than replacing your logo with someone else’s brand.

If you need a refresher course on collaboration, read “How YouTube Collaborations Can Drive a Hero, Hub, Hygiene Marketing Strategy.” And instead of wasting time trying to mashup brands from different sides of the online video world, consider investing some time in figuring out how to collaborate with the top 10 influencers across popular categories.