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March 20, 2007

Wrigley’s "5": A New Brand of Sugar-Free Product Naming

wrigley_five.gifWrigley has obviously has been chewing over the declining market share of its brand versus major competitor Cadbury Schweppes and has introduced what president and CEO Bill Perez calls the most revolutionary development in sugar-free stick gum since the introduction of the Extra brand name 20 years ago: a new “chewing experience” named, simply, “5”.

The product name connotes the five senses and will include three flavors: “Rain,” “Cobalt” and “Fire.” The Chicagoist is not sure if a gum can actually appeal to all five senses politely: maybe you hear gum if somebody cracks it or chews loudly.

But that might be just the point, given that gum cracking, bubble blowing teens chew up 33% of the gum sold in the U.S., and preliminary tests indicate that teens are attracted to the gum’s “tingling, cooling or warming sensations” as well as its “sleek, revolutionary packaging,” which reminds the Chicagoist of something far more risqué than sugar-free gum (which, again, is probably the point).

As far as the new product naming goes, I suppose the word “rain” could be a flavor, for the same reason that the word “ice” in brand names is a nice allusion.

But “cobalt”? Would that be cooler or hotter than rain? Or just a little different? It’s hard to say without looking at the packaging, isn't it? It turns out that “Rain” is “spearmint that tingles” while “Cobalt” is “”peppermint that cools.” Wikipedia describes cobalt as a "slightly toxic" element.

The product name and the entire approach is a departure for Wrigley’s, which has been rather conservative in its promotion of its brands (except when it comes to the bottom of Starbucks coffee cups.)

I have not been able to establish whether this new brand name will be featured on Candyland.com, Wrigley's download site for the ever-popular Wii. Alternatively, they might place a board at Wrigley Field, which later this year, for the first time ever, is placing ads on the ivy-covered walls surrounding the outfield.

Maybe the “5” brand name could be promoted during the Police show to be held at Wrigley Field on July 5th. Hopefully, noisy gum chewers won’t be standing too close to me.

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Posted by William Lozito at March 20, 2007 7:24 AM
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