Simon Mowbray
Consumers are set to be hit by a breeze of breath freshening aids at the start of 2003.
And it will include what promises to be one of the year's most ferocious battles between two brands in any grocery category.
Two groundbreaking products ­ Wrigley's Extra Thin Ice and Listerine Actives ­ will fight it out head to head from the beginning of next month, both backed by multi-million pound advertising campaigns.
The Grocer signalled the impending battle as long ago as last January after first reporting on Listerine's launch of the strips in the US.
Both brands have so far done a roaring trade Stateside with first-to-market Listerine having bagged $175m in its first year on shelf.
Wrigley, which was second to market in the US but first in the UK with its offering hitting stores now, is backing its latest launch with a £5m marketing spend while Listerine's brand owner, Pfizer, is set to pump a £4m investment behind its offering. However, price could also play a part with Listerine's 24-strip pack costing 99p compared with Wrigley's 75p rsp for the same number of strips.
Meanwhile, British confectionery giant Cadbury Trebor Bassett, which is handling distribution of the Pfizer product in Britain, is hoping for some success of its own with the launch of 24-7, a five-strong range of breath-freshening sweets and gums which it is supporting with a £4m spend.
The 40-mints or 14-gums, plastic-cased offerings go on sale from the end of this month, rsp 79p.