Cappuccino-flavoured gum?

So what's the story?...

So what’s the story?

Adams Canada introduces its newest addition to the Trident line – a gum featuring the clean, refreshing flavour of…cappuccino?

People generally chew gum to get rid of coffee breath. So whose bright idea was this?

It’s all part of an ongoing global effort to re-evaluate and update the Trident lineup by adding innovative new flavours and products, says Carolyn Solby, category manager with Toronto-based Adams Canada, which is part of the Warner-Lambert Consumer Products division of Pfizer.

Trident Cappuccino – which boasts a sweet coffee flavour with a subtle undertone of mint to minimize the horrors of coffee breath – was originally developed for the Mexican market. (A competing product has been sold successfully there for almost a year.) But the Trident team here in Canada had an inkling that it might just appeal to this country’s gum-chewers – and focus group testing confirmed that they liked the taste sensation.

‘Everybody else is doing different versions of mint,’ says Matt Scholes, vice-president, management director with Toronto-based J. Walter Thompson, the agency that works on the Trident brand. ‘But how many different versions of mint can there be?’

‘People expect Trident to be leading-edge,’ adds Solby. ‘We could go out and launch a grape or an orange or a peach, but what the research played back was that if anyone’s going to do something interesting, it’s going to be Trident.’

There’s no question that some consumers are going to find the idea of cappuccino-flavoured gum a little weird, Scholes admits. But that’s actually part of the allure.

‘We recognize that for some people there’s going to be an element of doubt or uncertainty. [But] hopefully there’s enough intrigue to make them give it a try. It certainly stands out, and that’s half the battle these days.’

In other words, sometimes weird is good – at least in the gum business. So how do you advertise something like this?

The television advertising created by JWT is, at first glance, just as odd as the product concept itself. The 30-second spot features a burly construction worker trying to drink a frothy cappuccino while operating a jackhammer. Spillage, naturally, ensues. ‘If you love the great taste of cappuccino,’ a voice-over announces, ‘now you can enjoy it conveniently, in a gum.’

‘There are certain times and places where drinking a cappuccino is just not convenient or possible,’ Scholes explains (neatly sidestepping the whole question of whether burly construction workers are, in fact, big cappuccino fans). ‘We wanted to take a situation like that, and melodramatize it. And rather than pretend it wasn’t strange, we also decided to play up the cappuccino-ness of it. The voice-over says, ‘Yeah, that’s right, cappuccino!’ In case you didn’t hear it the first time.’

Trident Cappuccino made its Canadian debut in September. The TV spot broke nationally in October, and will air throughout the balance of the year. The advertising is supported by point-of-purchase material at the retail level, including danglers and floor decals.

So who do they think is going to buy this?

Initially, the plan was to target the coffee-loving 25-30 age group. But according to Solby, research indicates that the product appeals to a broader audience, including the trend-setting 15-25 demographic.

‘In the gum market, teens will always try everything new,’ she says. ‘But what we don’t know yet is whether teens will have any long-term interest in chewing this. Our hypothesis is still that an older target will chew it on an ongoing basis.’

While Solby isn’t sharing any figures, she says that sales at launch met expectations, and that the gum is getting a lot of trial. What remains to be seen is whether the people who sample it once out of sheer curiosity will bother to buy it a second time.

‘There’s still a lot of people walking into stores and saying, ‘Oh, this is new.’ What we don’t know is how many will continue to chew it.’