It’s not often that you buy a packet of chewing gum then, as a result, drive off in a brand new car. But that’s exactly what happened to Airwaves gum consumer Theresa Cowling from Oxford, who won a Ford Focus ST as part of the brand’s Full Throttle promotion. Her prize was presented to her by two drivers from the Airwaves Racing British Tour Car Championship team Mat Jackson and Tom Onslow-Cole as the competition formed part of Airwaves’ ongoing sponsorship of the British Tour Car Championship.

As chewing gum and mints are more often than not an impulse purchase, you can see why manufacturers like to keep their brands top of mind with consumers.

An example of this is Perfetti Van Melle, which recently announced the launch of its largest-ever confectionery outdoor advertising campaign in London. Four of its brands feature in the £1.8m campaign Mentos, Mentos gum, Fruittella and Smint. The activity stretches across 32,000 locations in London, with 84% of London adults expected to see it up to 11 times a day.

In addition, Smint will be visible in cinemas during ’awards season’. Running until the end of March, the brand’s sponsorship will be seen by its key target audience across more than a thousand UK cinema screens in the key final advertising slot before the trailers begin in each film. The activity spans 15 blockbuster films across the sponsorship period, all of which are contenders for awards in various categories. The campaign is guaranteed to be seen by three million cinema goers.

But it’s not just advertising that helps with sales of mints and gum. According to Wrigley, 50% of shoppers who see gum will buy it, and nine out of 10 shoppers who interact with it will buy it. In fact, 62% of single-pack gum purchases are unplanned which is why display next to the till is vital.

Tom Jarratt, Wrigley customer marketing director, explains: "Gum is one of the most impulsive categories and should be positioned prominently at the till point, in the shopper’s line of vision while cash is being exchanged, to maximise sales. If the category is out of sight, or most importantly out of reach, sales will be affected.

"Every retailer should constantly review their merchandising principles to make sure they’re one step ahead of the competition." He reckons these simple steps will help retailers successfully maximise their gum sales:

Availability is key gum is more impulsive than any other confectionery line so re-stock each morning and prior to peak traffic times.

Stock the best sellers such as Extra and Airwaves.

Champion new products to capitalise on early demand.

Offer a wide choice of pack formats and flavours to meet different consumer demands eg bottles, stick and pellets, as well as a variety of flavours.

Rotate stock regularly so that older products are sold through first.

Get creative use signage and pos to highlight cross-category promotions eg stickers on sandwiches to remind shoppers to ’Eat, Drink, Chew’.

Jarratt says that, depending on store size, secondary gum sitings are also an important and profitable opportunity for retailers. "But findings from research commissioned by Wrigley, show that 88% of retailers are missing out on this huge opportunity by not utilising secondary gum displays in store. Where possible, it’s vital that retailers take every opportunity to maximise the visibility of gum. Next to the till point is where every gum display should be, but retailers should also look to secondary sitings to increase rate of sale.

"A second display can be anywhere a retailer chooses. Next to another till or at the end of an aisle is recommended, but retailers can get creative by placing gum, such as sugarfree Extra, with other oral care items, or near food-to-go with signage reminding shoppers to ’Eat, Drink, Chew’. Offering it as part of a fixed-price lunch meal deal is another opportunity."

Growth potential

Jarratt believes that despite strong sales, the gum category still has enormous potential. He says Wrigley is tapping into this potential with its 46- and 60-pellet bottles, designed to cater for consumers eating on the go.

"Earlier this year, to drive chewing frequency and volume, we launched our first-ever small bottle format. The 46-pellet range has sold over 2.6 million packs since launch (Nielsen) and is well on its way to bringing an additional £12m in retail sales value to the gum category. The Extra White variant is also already among the top 10 single-pack products in the gum category.

"Research indicates that snacking at work and eating and drinking in cars is on the rise, with two out of three office workers regularly eating lunch at their desk and 70% of drivers eating and drinking on the road.

"Both our bottle formats tap perfectly into this trend, while also giving consumers yet another reason to ’Eat, Drink, Chew’ more often."

He reckons the new smaller bottle format, in particular, will drive chewing frequency and volume.

"In Germany, for example, 46-pellet bottles represent 30% of the country’s total gum category value (Nielsen). Also, a recent study from China demonstrated that consumers who buy bottles chew twice as much every week, compared to those who buy 10-pellet packs."

At Perfetti Van Melle, brand manager for Mentos and Smint, Claire Powley, says her firm’s bigger bottle packs have been received very well to date.

"They provide an added value option to the regular, convenience pack and have added significant sales and visibility for Perfetti Van Melle and Mentos in the forecourt sector.

"Sales of the Mentos ’Michelin’ bottles have increased by 82.5% year-on-year in the forecourt sector and this is an area which still has further great potential. Consumers can place these packs in the car or on their desk in the office and the larger fill size means that there is less risk of running out and less frequent trips to replenish. These larger bottles are an ideal price point for forecourts where the perception of the cost on top of a tank of petrol is minimal."

The right Tac

Levi Boorer, customer development director for Tic Tac, says 2013 was "exceptional", with the brand experiencing 13% growth making it the fastest growing top 10 brand in pocket confectionery (Nielsen).
"Having both mint and fruit flavours means Tic Tac features in the two largest segments of pocket confectionery. With 40% of value sales going through impulse and the remainder through the multiples, it’s clear that the Tic Tac brand is familiar to a huge number of consumers, wherever they shop."
Interestingly, Boorer says it is the fruit flavours that make up the largest segment of pocket confectionery, with sales particularly high among 16-24 year olds. "Tic Tac has always been at the forefront of this category with its lime & orange variant, but the introduction of cherry passion has been a real success with sales now worth £3.5m (Nielsen).
"Another major success for us in recent months has been strawberry fields, which is already worth £4m following its launch in April 2012.
"The flavour has been highly incremental, drawing in new shoppers to the brand, in fact 71% of strawberry fields consumers do not buy any other Tic Tac flavours. The same is true of many of our variants, for example 62% of cherry passion shoppers only buy that one flavour, which just shows how crucial it is for retailers to stock the full Tic Tac range if they are to cater for all of their shoppers’ tastes."