Wrigley is giving its flagship Extra brand a facelift and is launching a £30m marketing push for its total portfolio in its latest bid to stay ahead of rival Trident.
The new packaging is the gum's first overhaul since its launch in 1990 and is not connected with this week's $23bn acquisition by Mars.
It has been designed to "inject coolness into the brand and give it a modern edge", marketing director Toby Baker said. The changes were subtle and included a bolder logo and more vibrant colours to appeal to its youth audience, he added.
The marketing campaign for the total Wrigley brand kicks off next week to coincide with the relaunch of Extra. It will be supported by TV, press, outdoor and sampling activity as well as continued sponsorship of teen soap Hollyoaks.
Baker, who predicted double-digit growth for Extra this year on the back of the relaunch, said that in the gum category "simple changes are often the most effective".
John Taylor, head of buying for impulse at Musgrave Retail Partners, said that the subtle changes to the brand were significant and "spot on" for its target audience of young males, who are influenced by fashion.
Last year, Extra sales were up 9% to £184.7m, growing just behind the total gum market, which was up 11% to £291m [Nielsen 52 w/e 29 December 2007].
Baker said that it was important to implement changes "while the going was good".
Wrigley has also signalled a further attack on Trident's strength in the flavoured gum sector. In the past few months it has registered a series of trademarks, including Funky Fruit, Colourful Citrus, Crazy Cherry and Squish.
Wrigley introduced fruit flavours to its Orbit Complete brand for the first time last month to halt declining sales. It also extended Extra with Polar Ice and Arctic Ice variants.