The marketer of the top six gum brands is using new TV campaigns from BBDO, Chicago, to resuscitate sales for such established brands as Big Red, Doublemint and Spearmint.
"We're taking a realistic assessment of our brands and looking at how to get everything on to a growth track with advertising and or product improvement," said a spokesman.
STRATEGY HAS WORKED
The strategy paid off two years ago for Wrigley's sugarless brand, Extra, and more recently for its Juicy Fruit brand, which returned to growth when the company restored TV advertising. Wrigley launched its "Gotta Have Sweet" campaign for Juicy Fruit in August; this week the gum gets further attention with the launch of the marketer's first Internet push.
Wrigley last year spent $123 million in measured media for all of its brands, according to Competitive Media Reporting, a budget that will rise due to the new efforts.
BIG RED IS NEXT
Big Red will be the next in line for concentrated TV efforts -- after a yearlong hiatus from the medium -- with the January launch of an estimated $10 million campaign.
Big Red, the No. 4 gum brand, posted sales declines of 4.6% to $42 million for the year ended July 18, according to Information Resources, Inc. In an attempt to bring new life and perspective to the brand, the TV effort will humorously depict how the 18- to 24-year-old "primarily single, social and on-the prowl target in need of fresh breath" can use Big Red as a tool, said Stacie Boney, exec VP-client service director at BBDO.
Although Ms. Boney would not share the new tagline, she said it is a departure from Big Red's 18-year-old "Little Longer" campaign, building on its heritage as a cinnamon breath-freshening gum "but putting a very fresh face out there for the brand."
BBDO also is testing new TV spots that will air nationally in 2000 for Wrigley's broadly targeted flagship brands -- Spearmint and Doublemint. Spearmint has been off national TV for two years and Doublemint has not fared particularly well under its 2-year-old "The Great Mint" campaign.
New TV for Freedent, also off air since 1997, will be tested in the future.
All three brands declined for the year ended July 18, Spearmint down 4.6% to $36 million; Doublemint down 3.8% to $59 million; and Freedent down 9.8% to $42 million, per IRI.
In addition to using traditional media to drive sales of its brands, Wrigley takes its first plunge into Internet marketing with the launch this week of an online promotion dubbed "The Juicy Fruit Scavenger Hunt."
SURFING FOR PRIZES
The initiative expands on BBDO's teen-targeted "Gotta Have Sweet" campaign, taking it to a new level of interaction by offering the Web-savvy target the chance to surf for prizes through Dec. 12 across popular teen sites, among them MTV.com, React.com, Sony.com and its own new site, juicyfruit.com.
Wrigley's total sales in regular gum, not including sugarless brands, declined 2.4% to $286 million for the year ended July 18. The Amurol unit was up 4.6% to $39 million for the same period. Competitor Warner-Lambert Co. saw sales decline 12.9% to $96 million, Nabisco Foods Group saw sales drop 11.5% to $34 million and Leaf fell 3.1% to $26 million.