KitKat Digital Billboard “Breaks” From Power for Earth Hour


J. Walter Thompson London, an ad agency aimed at changing culture while driving commerce, and KitKat, the chocolate-covered wafer confection offering hungry working-class people a “break” since 1935, recently collaborated on a digital billboard installation for Earth Hour—the annual act of ecological solidarity in which millions of people and institutions around the world join together in taking a 60-minute break from operational electricity at 8:30 p.m. local time.

This year, on March 24, London’s Tower Bridge acknowledged Earth Hour by going dark, and being a British export originally, KitKat fittingly staged its digital billboard nearby. J. Walter Thompson customized the signage, which was comprised of a simple circuit with a KitKat finger as the switch, to also lose power on cue in what has been dubbed the “Switch Off” campaign.

With this simple but powerful message and design, the KitKat billboard is effectively more than the sum of its parts. This is reinforced by the installation’s timing and proximity to Tower Bridge. If one was standing in front of the signage, it would’ve appeared as if the “breaking” KitKat finger was breaking the circuit supplying power and light to the Tower Bridge structure as well. Obviously, this boosts the impact of the Earth Hour message and reminds all of us that the digital signage industry, while mostly paperless, still has an ongoing environmental responsibility to curb unnecessary power usage whenever possible. The activation was teased on KitKat’s social accounts through a series of animated GIFs and the #SwitchOff moment was live streamed on Facebook.

“KitKat has been championing breaks for 60 years, and switching off electricity is one of the most important breaks we should all take,” said Ellie Worley of KitKat. “By driving awareness of the campaign, we hope to add a few more people to millions who already take part around the globe.”

“Everyone loves a break, but they don’t usually contribute to saving the planet,” added J. Walter Thompson London’s Executive Creative Director Lucas Peon. “That’s why we created our #SwitchOff billboard, to help raise awareness and encourage even more people to switch off their lights for 2018, because when it comes to this important global event, every break counts.”

We’re sure representatives from all of the locations that participated in this Earth Hour observance, including Tower Bridge, would echo the sentiments above. After all, accruing street cred for decreasing your power bill is a double win. See below for a full list of the Switch Off project’s partners and objectives:

Clients: Ellie Worley, senior brand manager, Matthew Solomon, head of community management

Brief: Persuade the public to have a break from electricity in support of global energy conservation

Creative Agency: J Walter Thompson London

Executive Creative Director: Lucas Peon

Creative Director: Christiano Neves

Creative: Louie Wood, Elliot Wright

Creative Technologist: Joseph Bassary

Planner: Rich Cottingham

Global Director in Charge: Paul Kirkley

Account Director: Sam Brooks

Account Manager: Jamie Sutherland, James Llewelyn-Davies

Project Manager: Joseph Bassary

Producer: Nadia Amico

Production Company: CSM

About Author

Jason Kushner is a videographer, editor, writer and filmmaker living in the Greater Atlanta Area. With an educational background combining film and journalism, Kushner has shot video and written for a myriad of publications and multimedia projects including Creative Loafing Tampa,, Starline Films and Digital Signage Connection. His 2009 documentary American Colonies: Collapse of the Bee became an Official Selection at 12 international film festivals, won Best Documentary at the 2009 Central Florida Film Festival and a John Muir Gold Award at the 2009 Yosemite Film Festival.  In 2015, he became Digital Media Editor for Digital Signage Expo, LightShow West and LED Specifier Summit and has since become Digital Content Manager for those shows’ parent company, Exponation.

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