Shoppers at Watson Lake in the Yukon were surprised last week to see a familiar sight adorning the packaging of KitKat bars in the store: the Sign Post Forest.
The special KitKat wrapper features the brand’s iconic red logo alongside imagery of the Sign Post Forest, a collection of tens of thousands of signs that serves as Watson Lake’s leading tourist attraction.
According to Annie-Claude Dupuis, Travel Yukon’s acting global marketing manager, the KitKats are part of a summer road trip-inspired marketing campaign targeting Canadians, and the marketing agency for KitKat’s parent company, Nestle, reached out to the Yukon government last fall to request a royalty-free image of Watson Lake’s eclectic, human-made forest.
“(Nestle’s) thinking was that coming out of the pandemic, Canadians would be looking into travelling within Canada, so they decided to highlight roadside attractions from each of the provinces and territories, and they selected the Sign Post Forest for the Yukon,” Dupuis said.
The sugar-sweet news travelled fast in Watson Lake’s community social media groups, with some noting the town is now “KitKat famous” and others claiming the packaging had been spotted as far away as Newfoundland.
Super A Foods’ limited stock of the special edition KitKats quickly flew off the shelves.
“People found out, and they went through the box … I sold out within the first hour,” manager Peter Koehl told the Yukon News.
Some residents couldn’t catch a break, though, and weren’t able to get their hands on the coveted chocolate bars.
“The locals thought it was pretty cool, but the ones who wanted to get some are a little disappointed because they sold out so quickly,” Koehl said, adding that he’ll order more KitKats but can’t guarantee they’ll have the popular packaging.
According to Watson Lake Mayor Christopher Irvin, the recognition is indeed exciting for residents.
“You don’t ever see a big recognition of Watson Lake on something so grand, and it’s exciting — people are excited to be recognized,” Irvin said.
Yukon government officials and local residents alike are hopeful that the Sign Post Forest’s appearance on KitKats sold nationwide might increase visitors to the attraction.
“If you’re an avid KitKat eater and on your way up here, I’m sure it would encourage you to stop, right? Because sometimes I think people just don’t realize how great that location is and what it offers, so I think that [the KitKat campaign] brings attention to it,” Irvin said.
“We always want people to come to the Yukon, spend more time in this place and visit more of the communities, and the Sign Post Forest is definitely one of the most iconic attractions,” Dupuis said.
“People just love it, it is a favourite amongst visitors, so we’re glad to see it is getting attention and we’re hoping it will make people want to come here.”
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