Trident puts on a fashion exhibit

Strange but true, the Mondelez gum brand launched a mobile phone-blocking clothing line.
Shield Coat

Chew on this one for a moment. Trident gum has partnered with a fashion designer and is presenting a line of clothing that actually blocks cellphone signals.

Called “Focus: life gear by Trident,” it seems like a strange space for the Mondelez-owned brand to activate in, but Trident marketing director Caroline Hugall says the move builds on the idea that chewing gum helps people keep focused.

“Trident believes in a distraction-free lifestyle,” she says. “It was a natural fit to partner with someone (Japanese fashion designer Kunihiko Morinaga) who could actually bring that to life in the real world.”

The collection of copper and silver-shaded garments, including a shield dress, shield parka and shield slacks, uses radio frequency-shielding material, the company says. The pieces were unveiled at a media event held Friday at a pop-up exhibit in downtown Toronto’s fashion district, to launch an exhibit running until April 6.

In a video about the design concept, Morinaga says he used fabrication techniques for outerwear that protect people from the elements like wind and rain to promote the idea that these garments protect people from the “storm of information.”

The “lifestyle focus” positioning is a departure from the brand’s current campaign, “See what unfolds,” with the Canadian Facebook page presenting a humorous, zany tone.

Hugall says the clothing line is meant to start conversation around the idea of how distracted by technology people have become. There are currently no plans to make the line available for purchase, Hugall says.

“Wearable technology is kind of a huge trend at the moment but this is almost anti-wearable technology in a way,” she says. “Because while we love technology, we want to keep it in its place.”

With media by Starcom MediaVest Group and PR by Edelman, the company also created an app called Social Media Addict that analyzes a user’s time spent on Facebook and ranks their social media “addiction” level. It lives at the microsite, where visitors can also see video and images, and get the background on the concept. The launch is supported by some in-store and OOH, along with display banner ads, Hugall says, and Morinaga has also created Trident-branded pouches using the material.

As information continues to explode at our fingertips, consumers have increasingly been looking for ways to tune out or turn off. One JWT Canada study found that one in five Canadians wish they could tune out distractions and 64% wish they could focus on the here and now.