CHICAGO (AdAge.com) -- With its slick packaging, innovative flavors and highly produced ads, Wm. Wrigley Jr. Co.'s 5 gum continues to gain momentum in the sugarless-gum category.
Launched only three years ago, the gum now commands a 13% market share, according to SymphonyIRI, which excludes Walmart. U.S. sales grew nearly 11% to more than $304 million in the year ended Oct. 3, putting it within striking distance of Kraft Food's Trident, the second-place gum in the category. Wrigley says the gum is on its way to becoming a $500 million brand globally this year.
The company introduced 5 in 2007 with the hyperbolic "Stimulate Your Senses" TV ad campaign -- by Energy BBDO, Chicago -- that equated gum-chewing with intense human feats, such as speeding down a high-powered cooling tunnel. The campaign continues today.
"When you push the envelope in your creative, [consumers] go with you because they understand that your hyperbole lets them suspend their disbelief," said Paul Chibe, Wrigley's VP of U.S. gum and mints.
The name 5 refers to the five senses, and the gum comes in 10 flavors, including "Cobalt," a peppermint; "Rain," a spearmint; and "Lush," a crisp tropical. But 5's marketing is as much about image as taste and smell. Targeting young adults, Wrigley put the gum in chic black packaging that Mr. Chibe said is a game-changer for the gum category.
"Convention is that you buy your flavor by pack color, and when you get to the shelf you see a circus of color," he said. For 5, black signifies premium, Mr. Chibe said, comparing it to black iPods.
Wrigley continues to invest heavily in the brand with new offerings. In March, the company introduced 5 React, which includes mint and fruit flavors that come in black-colored sticks wrapped in black foil.