Why the Makers of Sweet 'N Low Are Trying to Target Younger Consumers

Cumberland Packing Launches First Campaign From New Agency Ammirati

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Sweet 'N Low is changing tack with a marketing campaign that attempts to reach a younger demographic and convince them that those ubiquitous pink packets aren't just for their moms' generation -- they're for women in their 20s and early 30s who have a sweet tooth but also watch their waistlines.

It's a bold push for the brand, which is owned by Brooklyn-based Cumberland Packing Corp. The family-owned firm has been in business for more than 50 years, and its portfolio of products also includes "Sugar in the Raw" and "Butter Buds."

In the past, a lot of messaging for the brand has focused on being the top zero-calorie sweetener, but now the brand wants to, in its words, "reclaim the drink world" with this push from agency Ammirati. Hired a few months ago after a review, Ammirati replaced indie hotshop Mother .

Sweet 'N Low's focus on tying messages to the beverage segment comes as soda companies are being blamed for obesity and as New York is considering a ban on large sugary drinks. At the same time, artificial sweeteners are drawing criticism for being unnatural, while natural sweeters often get slammed for lacking in taste. With such a splintered market, Sweet 'N Low is trying to stake its claim and warm itself beyond its core -- but aging -- customer base.

Monica Oliva, brand manager of Sweet 'N Low, acknowledged there's a challenge in marketing an artificial sweetener at a time when many consumers prefer organic and locally sourced products. But she also pointed out that the company has been observing the rise in popularity of drinks such as those in the SkinnyGirl line, which give consumers taste with fewer calories.

"We definitely recognize that there's a market within the younger generation for more natural products, but at the same time our value proposition comes in for those younger consumers who are more calorie-conscious ... there's definitely an opportunity," Ms. Oliva said.

The company is also trying to embrace the polarizing taste of the product. "Sweet 'N Low is not just an alternative to sugar -- it is a separate product with a distinct flavor profile and unique sweetness that our consumers love," said Catherine Steffen, director of marketing at Cumberland, in a statement.

For the campaign, Ammirati worked with L.A.-based firm Blind to create a hand-crafted "sweeter world," consisting of mini-environments made entirely out of paper to reference the pink paper packets. Using hundreds of sheets of paper, and in consultation with a papercraft model maker, the team created origami-like landscapes that include vistas, skyscrapers, delivery trucks and even mini Sweet 'N Low billboards.

It was the only idea Ammirati presented, incidentally, landing the shop the business after a review process. Sweet 'N Low joined a roster at the New York-based shop that includes Zynga, Powerade, VitaminWater, EnergyKitchen, Pirate's Booty and FlyWheel.

The "Sweeter World" concept has been translated into print ads, web banners, in-store advertising and a stop-motion-animation commercial that consumers will see this summer.

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