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Give me a break? Nestle adds GPS trackers to candy bars in UK promotion

Creepy or innovative? You make the call.

Nestle, makers of those delicious candy bars that you tend to throw on the conveyer belt as a last-minute addition to your shopping trip at the local supermarket, has planned a new promotion for UK customers that's vaguely reminiscent of the Willy Wonka plotline.

Only, in this case, you're not finding some magical ticket; the candy bar is finding you.

Here's how it works. Nestle has embedded six GPS trackers inside of various candy bars, like KitKat, Aero, and Yorkie bars. The trackers activate once the candy bar is unwrapped, and a Nestle prize team then has 24 hours to track down the lucky recipients and award them a £10,000 prize.

"We believe this promotion will particularly appeal to men, attracting them to the chocolate singles category and thus driving incremental sales," said a Nestle representative.

Although Nestle claims that it's the first to market with its GPS-driven promotion, that's actually not the case. However, the company appears to at least be going about its prize awarding system in a way that's fairly non-disruptive to the winners.

The same can't be said for Unilever, which threw GPS devices into boxes of its Omo laundry detergent in 2010. As soon as a device was activated – which occurred as soon as a box was removed from a store shelf – the company's prize team would spring into action, promising to even reach a winner's house, "as soon as you do," said the president of the agency running the promotion, Bullet's Fernando Figueiredo.

The problem? Unilever also threw up a website called, "Try Something New," which showcased a rough approximation of where each winner lived, in addition to pictures of the winners and pictures of the prize team tracking them down. For privacy buffs who just wanted a little peace, quiet, and a pleasant prize for their efforts, the entire process seemed a bit over the top.

Additionally, some pundits haven't been wooed by Nestle's creative use of technology in its GPS-driven promotion.

"There's money, there's chocolate, but there is no story behind the promotion. There is no magic," writes Danie Gomez-Ortigoza of the blog Branding Worth Spreading. "Willy Wonka and the chocolate factory made us dream, while Nestle is simply doing an average promotion using GPS technology that aims to build short term sales, but doesn't do much for the brand long term."

"Wouldn't it be more interesting if instead of doing it for many different products, they focused on one in particular -- let's say KitKat-- and created a Twitter account that sent tips about the location of the devices in riddles? This would allow the brand to show its personality and create a lasting link with the audience, instead of dying in the oblivion of average promotions," she added.