Stride Shift: A Gum that Willy Wonka Would Love

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“Ready or not, here it comes.”

That’s the tag line of a new TV ad for Stride Shift, a sugarless gum that claims to change flavors as the consumer chews it. Available in two flavors (Berry-to-Mint and Citrus-to-Mint), Stride Shift is the latest entry in the sugarless gum category, a market worth over $2 billion.

What’s changing, in addition to Stride’s Willy Wonka-esque flavor-changing twist, is the marketing approach of Kraft’s Cadbury division when it comes to the brand.

Already positioned as “The Ridiculously Long Lasting Gum,” Stride has abandoned the typical sugarless gum marketing strategy of pitching fresh breath, whitening, or being good for consumers.[more]

Instead, “Stride speaks to younger consumers who chew gum not for functional reasons but for emotional reasons,” says Gary Osifchin, Stride’s marketing director. That’s because the brand specifically targets “teens, college-goers and gamers” who are looking to be wowed.[more]

Stride Shift is the latest novel entry into a brand category that has such consumer giants as Kraft’s Cadbury division and Mars’ Wrigley unit battling it out for supremacy. According to research firm Symphony IRI Group, the Stride brand is number four with about 9% market share. Cadbury also makes Trident, the second best-selling brand, which recently introduced a three-layer gum.

Wrigley makes number one seller Orbit as well as 5, the number three brand. While Wrigley promotes Orbit traditionally, the 5 brand competes in the same space as Stride. In fact, Wrigley’s 5 brand seems to be “reacting” to Stride Shift with its two new 5 React flavors (or perhaps it’s the other way around).

React Fruit and React Mint are getting their own TV spot in about a week, notes the New York Times. It will pitch the fact that the flavors taste differently to different people.

Given that each of the top gum brands could be worth several hundred million dollars in annual sales, it’s not surprising that Kraft and Mars are putting some serious marketing muscle behind them.

With the youthful target audience, a considerable investment will, of course, be made in online and social media. It’s all in an effort to get the unique messages about Stride Shift and 5 React to (yes) stick.

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