Forget ‘Freshening’: Wrigley’s Extra Unlocks ‘Refreshing’

Mars Wrigley were looking for ways to innovate their hugely successful Extra gum brand – without cannibalising their existing offerings.

One of the options under consideration was to extend the long-standing ‘freshening’ brand positioning into a full-on ‘refreshment’ proposition.  This may not sound like a big change, but for a well-established brand like Extra, it’s pretty huge!

Mars Wrigley had identified a number of potential innovation concepts and product formats to deliver this initiative, but they’d failed to achieve the consistent ‘green’ scores in BASES they needed to proceed.  It was at this stage that they asked Brand Development to help.  We’d just finished helping them rescue and optimise the concept for Skittles Chewies – and they obviously felt the same approach might work!

Careful analysis of the concepts suggested that they might be failing because they were overly functional and lacked a deep understanding of the emotional dimensions of ‘refreshment’ vs the more functional dimensions of ‘freshening’

Harnessing the Emotions of Refreshment

Fast-Track Process

We proposed a fast-track, concept-crafting process that combined ethnography with consumer concept co-creation.

This allowed us to decode the semiotics of refreshment, work out why the current concepts didn’t connect with consumers’ desires – and then re-craft them as winners.

Ethnography to Identify Semiotics of Refreshment

We rapidly discovered that ‘refreshment’ was a multi-sensory experience which could be unlocked by the application of the right imagery, language and flavour cues.

Consumers consistently used blues, greens, water, lakes, oceans and showers to symbolise their most refreshing moments.

Dynamic Concepting

Building on insights gathered in ethnography, we quickly re-crafted the concepts to include the more emotional language that consumers craved.

Client & Consumer Co-Creation

We used proven consumer co-creation techniques to get clients and consumers working together to optimise the copy, assess the prototypes and help us spot the mix that represented their ‘perfect’ refreshment experience.

Insight-Driven Product Design

Brilliantly, the Mars Wrigley’s product developers then set about building all the desired attributes of waterfalls, showers and water into the product prototypes they were developing by using colours, flavours and physical characteristics that make the product feel cool and fresh in the mouth!

Launch Success 2019

Following a hugely successful BASES re-test, Extra Refreshers hit the shelves in the US in Spring 2019 – and is off to a strong start!

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