Winterfresh, a spin-off of the flavor first introduced in Wrig-ley's Extra sugar-free line three years ago, rolls out in September with ad support from BBDO, Chicago, the agency for Wrigley's $125 million account.
Extra's Winterfresh flavor has rapidly grown to represent a disproportionate 20% of the No. 1 sugarless gum's sales, the company said. Extra has six flavors.
Despite the success of Extra and other artificially sweetened gums, 52% of gum chewers buy only sugared gum, said William Piet, Wrigley VP-corporate affairs. Roughly 60% of Wrigley's sales come from sugared gum; its last new brand was Big Red, introduced in 1976.
Winterfresh, like Wrigley's other brands, sells for 25 cents a five-stick pack. Kemper Securities analyst Richard Elam said Wrigley has lowered its costs to make the pricing strategy work.
Wrigley said it's creating a new flavor category with Winterfresh. Yet, the new brand will compete not only with Extra Winterfresh, but with Warner-Lambert Co.'s Trident Freshmint.
"It might take 0.1% from [Wrigley standards] Spearmint and Doublemint, but I think it will create some new gum chewers," Mr. Elam said.
Gum sales in food, drug and mass merchandise stores for the 52 weeks ended May 22 totaled $1 billion, according to Information Resources Inc., Chicago. Wrigley held 44.5% of the market.
Termed by analysts a "cautious but steady company," Wrigley has continued to ring up healthy sales. Worldwide '93 sales rose 7.6% to $1.4 billion. International, accounting for roughly half of '93 sales, is now key to Wrigley's future.