Wrigley and Cadbury have outlined plans to restore the fortunes of the embattled chewing gum category.

Value sales of market leading brand Wrigley's Extra fell 11% to £137.9m, while Cadbury's Trident gum plummeted 32.8% to £16.5m [Nielsen 52w/e 20 February 2010]. The overall category dropped 5.6% to £242.6m. Both companies admitted their marketing and sales strategies had focused too narrowly on youth instead of occasions when consumers use gum.

Wrigley is investing £10m in a campaign that includes a TV push called Food Creatures, nationwide sampling and a new and longer-lasting variant.

"We realised we needed to re-establish the functional reason of why we chew gum," said Toby Baker, Wrigley marketing director. "Most of our communications would have been targeting youth, so we are now broadening the target group. We have to make the message more inclusive and get our brand into more people's hands."

The marketing kicks off next month with the Food Creatures television campaign, featuring 3D animated coffee cup, onion and cookie characters conveying a 'fresh mouth message'.

Wrigley has also linked up with takeaway and coffee house chains to advertise Extra's mouth-freshening properties on more than four million takeaway coffee cups and 600,000 curry lids. The initiative runs from now until June.

Wrigley rival Trident was an example of how the category had taken its eye off the ball, said Baker. "We know what is driving the category freshening. If a lot of your news is about fruit, it detracts from what the category is about."

Cadbury said the de-listing of five of its 10-strong Trident range last year had hit sales. It has since revamped packaging with a more "adult" design.

"The wrappers are 'quieter,' with more blank space, and stand out more on shelf," said Lynn Vandeveer, marketing director for mints and gums. "It is now more appealing to a wider and more adult ­audience."

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Chew on this: too much NPD can be a category’s undoing (analysis; 6 March 2010)