Stride gum wants you to change your entire life around right now

By Elaine Wong on Fri Aug 27 2010

Stride

Leave it to the folks at Stride gum to come up with an idea like this. The Kraft Foods brand today launched a Facebook application that lets consumers "Change your flavor, change your life." It promotes its new flavor-changing Stride Shift gum by showing what life would be like if you actually had a piece. (Who woulda thunk flavor-changing gum was possible?) Facebook users can select from one of four characters—an ostrich jockey, a fortune teller, an adventure traveler and a rodeo clown—and insert themselves in said situation. The site explains: "Our powerful life-changing software will update your Facebook photos with a gallery full of pictures and stories that'll dupe your friends into thinking you've transformed into an entirely new you overnight." We can sort of pass for a fortune teller, are horrendous as a clown, high as an adventure traveler and a-OK as an ostrich jockey. All of them are quite an evolution from marketing blogger. We'll have to see if our friends are fooled. JWT New York created the app.

Now, Wrigley's Juicy Fruit gum will do your sweet talking for you

By Elaine Wong on Wed Aug 11 2010

Juicy-fruit

Just when you need some sweetness in your day, Juicy Fruit, the (now Mars-owned) Wrigley gum brand, has launched a new mobile app that lets you do just that. The app, called "Sweet Talk," available in Apple's iTunes Store, lets you pick from one of "five mouthy characters." You then hold your phone over your mouth, and the characters blurt out sweet nothings to whoever's standing nearby. The gang comes armed with 25 sweet sayings. The characters include DJ Spraytan, "a fist-pumper from the Jersey Shore," who says things like, "You're so sweet, I wanna take you on the tilt-a-whirl. You gonna keep the cookies in the jar, or what?" For those of you who love your next-door neighbors, look no further than Mrs. Nextdoor. Her catchy phrases include: "You're so sweet, I'm gonna take you out for an ice-cream sundae. You da toppins!" (Yeah, man!) Ad agency Evolution Bureau create the app, which is free. No, didn't think you would actually pay for it.

Will Arnett, Jason Bateman's new venture begins with Orbit gum

Posted on Mon Jun 14 2010

Will Arnett and Jason Bateman may not be collaborating on a movie version of Arrested Development (or are they?), but the actors are co-starring in their first piece of branded entertainment. They've launched a production entity called DumbDumb, aligned themselves with content-as-commercial maven Ben Silverman and created a five-minute webisode for Wrigley's Orbit chewing gum that's a smart little piece of absurdist theater. "The Prom Date" is part of the "Dirty Shorts" video series built around the brand's promise to clean up any icky situation. (Bateman plays a doting dad, Aubrey Plaza is his eye-rolling teen-age daughter, and Arnett is her social-studies teacher/"soulmate"/surprise prom date). It's co-produced by Orbit and Energy BBDO in Chicago. DumbDumb, which plans to produce more "Dirty Shorts," has officially hung out its shingle now and will produce digital spots for other advertisers, too. My quick read: They couldn't have chosen a more perfect launch partner than the cheeky Orbit, and they couldn't have nailed the brand sensibility any better. For the sake of branded entertainment (and those who have to consume an awful lot of it, some of it really awful), I hope DumbDumb gets tons of work. And unless and until that Arrest Development flick ever comes about, this may be the only chance that fans will have to see these wacky guys together. Go with the product-placement gods, you two.

—Posted by T.L. Stanley

Trident urges you to chew on two dudes' wacky Web adventures

Posted on Tue Apr 27 2010

Prepare to be mildly amused. Trident is launching a star-studded Web series produced by CJP Media called "The Webventures of Justin and Alden" that looks like an updated version of Bill & Ted's Excellent Adventure or maybe Harold & Kumar Go to White Castle. I say mildly amused because the trailer contains no LOL moments, but there's a chance that in their strenuous attempts to entertain you, Upright Citizens Brigade members Justin Tyler and Alden Ford may at times succeed. There's George Washington and vampires, for example, and the moment when Tyler breaks the fourth wall is somewhat risible. (He looks like a cross between the Ferris Bueller-era Matthew Broderick and Matt LeBlanc.) "This will be the greatest Web series Web show that's ever been on the Web computer!" Tyler says, sounding like Joey and Ferris rolled into one. There are lots of cameos, too, including Shannen Doherty, Illeana Douglas and Mark Gantt (who I thought was Christian Slater.) The effort, launched on behalf of its Layers gum, underscores Trident's Skittles-like focus on absurdist humor hinted at in previous commercials. If Samuel Beckett were alive today, he'd no doubt be making candy ads. UPDATE: Check out the first actual episode here.

—Posted by Todd Wasserman

Stride's mystery flavor not all that appetizing on April Fool's Day

Posted on Thu Apr 1 2010

It's April Fool's Day, and the stunts are coming fast and furious. First, there was Google's somewhat lame "Topeka" gag, then Ben & Jerry's "Virtual Ice Cream." Now, Cadbury Adams's Stride gum is offering its own hijinks via its Facebook site. Some 600,000 fans on the site got a sneak peak of its new mystery flavor, called Mega Mystery. For the uninitiated, Stride and agency JWT began teasing the flavor last month with TV ads that showed a guy who was just about to reveal what the gum tasted like only to get attacked by a hoard of ostriches. (Happens all the time, I suppose.) Today, Stride offered several taste comparisons. In one vid, Mega Mystery "may or may not" taste like the smell of puppies. In another, it tastes like poppin' a wheelie. Finally, it tastes like the Internet. Funny, that's probably what Ben & Jerry's Virtual Ice Cream tastes like, too. In reality, though, we all know it tastes like Topeka.

—Posted by Todd Wasserman

Wrigley getting all secretive and sci-fi to introduce 5 React gum

Posted on Wed Mar 31 2010

5

Upon visiting 5react.com, you will feel as if you've entered a virtual world or a preview for an upcoming video game. It's hard to believe that such large theatrics (a spaceship-like landing page, sci-fi music, secret messages) were created for the launch of such a small product: gum. How did I find the site? By being one of the lucky ones to receive a black envelope containing a sample of Wrigley's new 5 React gum, 3-D glasses, and a code that promises to "unlock your personalized sensory experience." But it can't be unlocked unless you connect with Facebook and share your experience with friends. I won't spoil the fun for all those waiting for their black envelopes, especially considering the traction this viral effort is getting on 5 React's Facebook page. (It has more than 1 million fans.) I'm putting on my 3-D glasses as we speak.

—Posted by Elena Malykhina

Stride gum dedicated to preserving a special piece of the 1980s

Posted on Wed Aug 12 2009

Savethearcades

A lot of things have come back from the '80s, whether you're talking fashion (stretch pants), music (Rock of Ages on Broadway) or décor (check out the '80s-themed fitness chain Retrofitness). The one thing that hasn't returned are videogame arcades. Yes, the place where you could leave a cigarette burning above the two-player button while you racked up a perfect score during the bonus round is becoming extinct. Sure, there are Chuck E. Cheese's, but you need to be accompanied by a child to go there. And some pizzerias and bars still have Ms. Pac-Man and Galaga. But what about Paperboy, Punch Out and Mappy? Or Spy Hunter, Donkey Kong Jr. or Zaxxon? Well, Stride gum has set out to preserve some of the old-school arcades that house these coin-op dinosaurs. The "ridiculously long lasting gum" ponied up $10,000 so it wouldn't be game over for the Challenge Arcade in the Philadelphia area. Now, fans can go to SaveTheArcades.com to help decide which of four other arcades will win $25,000. Visitors to the site are invited to play Zapatur, with their points score allocated to the arcade of their choice. The arcade with the most points wins. Sounds like a totally mint idea to me.

—Posted by Kenneth Hein

With Orbit's Big Pak, curse words will become a thing of the past

Posted on Thu Jul 16 2009

Orbit's Big Pak is the miracle gum for cleaning potty mouths. That's according to this spot from Energy BBDO, which shows the brand's spokesman, Big Pak, rapping about how the gum cleaned his mouth for good. "My mouth is so clean now, swear words are not in my vocabulary anymore," he says. "They're replaced by motha hubbard, feather pluckin', you know, motha lovin', motha huggin'." The approach is not new for the Wrigley brand. In 2006, Orbit aired a spot called "The Affair," which shows a woman cursing out her husband and his mistress by using mickey fickey language. "We know it resonates. It's something kids really get into because it's fun, in that you know what the dirty words are, but you laugh about the ones used in its place," says Paul Chibe, Wrigley's vp and general manager for U.S. gum and mints.

—Posted by Elaine Wong

Stride gum lasts long enough to be passed through generations

Posted on Fri May 8 2009

Here's a heartwarming scene from the folks at JWT Puerto Rico and Stride gum that, it should be noted, is completely in Spanish. A boy is going away to college, but before he departs, the father has something to impart. It's an heirloom that was passed down from his father to him. What is it? Well, before you start recalling Christopher Walken's "gold watch" speech from Pulp Fiction, remember this an ad for Stride gum. The object in question turns out to be a piece of gum that all the men in the family have been chewing for decades. (Never mind that Stride only came out three years ago—maybe this is some kind of Lost thing where someone time-traveled and gave Grandpa the gum.) The boy takes the gum, starts to chew it and seems appreciative. Scoff if you will, but this is kind of a touching moment. One question, though: How does Stride get away with this? It's making an obviously false claim about the gum for comedic effect, but it's still false, right? Isn't this, in a way, sort of like what Powerade has done in its Gatorade comparison ads? Chew on that for a while.

—Posted by Todd Wasserman

Bazooka Joe defies critics, takes over at Topps Confectionary

Posted on Tue Mar 10 2009

Baz

The new top dog at Topps Confectionary wears an eye patch and is known for doling out some of the worst jokes known to mankind. His name is Bazooka Joe. The character, who debuted in 1953, will be front and center now that Topps Confectionary is changing its name to Bazooka Candy Brands. Michael Eisner, who acquired Topps in 2007, made the announcement late last week. Topps owns the Ring Pop, Push Pop and much-maligned Baby Bottle Pop brands. The company plans to bring Bazooka Joe to life "in a variety of mediums and promotional activities." Considering some of his classic jokes include "The early bird gets the worm. Some reward!" and "Your homework is like a juicy steak: rarely done!," hopefully those activities will not include a stand-up comedy routine.

—Posted by Kenneth Hein


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