Agency: BETC Euro RSCG
French learn from Japan to sell gum on benefits like energy, not flavors
Hollywood Chewing Gum went all the way to Japan to find inspiration for revamping a brand that had lost its leading position in France to Wm. Wrigley Jr. Co. due to Hollywood's failure to innovate. Havas' Paris agency BETC Euro RSCG learned on that fact-finding trip that in Japan gum is sold more on functional benefits, rather than by different flavors as in most Western markets. Hollywood's new owner, Cadbury Schweppes, was more receptive to radically overhauling the way Hollywood was marketed than previous owner Kraft Foods.
Marina Charlon, account director on Hollywood at BETC Euro RSCG, said, "This was our opportunity to rebuild everything. We went deeply into the strategy of the brand. We realized they didn't have proper products and that they should stop targeting only youth."
BETC plunged into research and development, including the Japan trip. Together, client and agency developed new products with functional benefits including fresh breath, white teeth, an energy boost, and decongestant.
The meager marketing budget was increased five-fold to $6 million, but the agency is honest about the battle ahead.
"We are still searching for a compromise between the past and today," Ms. Charlon said. "We have to express brand values and be very clear on product benefits."
Even so, sales have surpassed projections. "In two years it was like a revolution," she said. Hollywood regained its market leadership with 28% growth in sales by value, boosted by an 86% increase in sales for the sugar-free line. And BETC won first prize in the Euro RSCG network's annual "Creative Business Ideas" competition.