WRIGLEY PULLS PLUG ON ANTACID GUM SURPASS

Will Close Special Healthcare Division

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NEW YORK (AdAge.com) -- In yet another example of a functional food flop, Wm. Wrigley Jr. Co. today said it would pull its Surpass Antacid gum as a result of lower-than-expected sales.

The leading gum marketer had set up a special division, Wrigley Healthcare, to market Surpass and other "functional" products two years ago. Right out of the gate, though, Wrigley was unhappy with results on the product following its initial estimated $30 million launch campaign from Omnicom Group's DDB Corbett.

The company asked Northlich, Cincinnati,

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to develop a new campaign for the brand roughly six months later.

Employees reassigned
A Wrigley spokesman said that while some of the activity of the Wrigley Healthcare venture will continue, Surpass was the stand-alone product from the division and "it didn't fly." He added that the unit, created to house Surpass and others with what he called an "OTC [over-the-counter] functional approach," will be disbanded with internal employees being placed on other tasks and the contract with a brokerage sales firm severed.

In a statement, Wrigley executives said the company "will continue to explore the delivery of [products with] functional benefits," such as Orbitz White.

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