Eclipse gum: Paul Chibe

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When Paul Chibe, 34, made the one-block career move to Chicago-based Wm. Wrigley Jr. Co. from Quaker Oats Co. in August of 2000, one of his first charges was to put more pizazz into year-old Eclipse sugarless gum.

Moving from a marketing post in the convenience store channels at Quaker to senior marketing manager at Wrigley, Mr. Chibe was told there was more potential for the breath-freshening gum, which had achieved sales approaching $50 million in its first year. The challenge was to bring back older consumers who had veered away from gum to supercharged mints, such as Kraft Foods' Altoids.

"We revisited the core consumer issues and redefined everything-from the advertising to the products," Mr. Chibe says. Omnicom Group's BBDO Worldwide created a new $15 million campaign to build Eclipse's awareness from its original launch and to promote the idea of eliminating vs. masking bad breath. Even formulas were changed for Spearmint and Winterfresh. With a new taste, Wrigley stepped up sampling efforts.

The tactics paid off. In less than one year, sales have doubled to $100 million in all trade classes. In drug, food and mass-market stores alone, sales rocketed 101.5%, to $61.2 million for the 52-week period ended July 15 vs. the same period in 2000, according to Information Resources Inc. Eclipse is the fifth-fastest-selling brand in the sugarless gum category. "Most can't accomplish that type of growth," he says.

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