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CHICAGO -- Teens and young adults are definitely into social networking and smartphones, but this consumer group has apparently not been keen on chewing gum. In an effort to get those in their teens and 20s back to chewing gum, Wrigley developed an elaborate marketing plan around its 5 brand of gum, according to the Wall Street Journal.
The gum maker, which was acquired by Mars Inc. in 2008, first introduced 5 in 2007. The effort to get youths into chewing gum stemmed from an advertisement appearing on Facebook this year soliciting "test subjects" for an alternate-reality game.
Aaron Allar responded to the online ad in May, and soon packages arrived at his door. Allar told the newspaper he thought the company behind the "test" was promoting a video game.
The game, named "The Human Preservation Project," claims to be "recruiting players to take part in virtual experiments to save the human race by maintaining sensory experiences."
Wrigley reported that 600,000 people have participated in the game, but no player knew who designed the game until recently, when the company released some clues that 5 gum was behind the effort. On 5's Facebook page, there is now a link to the game website. In addition, game codes are now included in the gum's packaging.
"This is the true nature of the brand, which is exploratory," Martin Schlatter, Wrigley's chief marketing officer, told the Wall Street Journal. "You go down the rabbit hole, and you don't know how deep it is or where it goes." According to the newspaper, the efforts have paid off. Wrigley said 5 is its most successful brand launch ever, generating $500 million in sales over the past five years.