Fresh consistency in action with Extra gum

The gum brand Extra brightened up my week with their new global campaign We could all use a FRESH start (1). Thanks to Kristen Peelle for the tip-off. “The film is set in a world not too unlike our own, where lockdown has finally come to an end and hordes of people are streaming out into the streets to run, frolic and snog one another with wild abandon,” explains Creative Review (2). It’s a great example of fresh consistency in action. We need to wait to get brand and business results. But it does seem to have got decent early reach, with 8.4 million YouTube views in the first four weeks for the two main films.

In this post I explore some learnings from the campaign.

1. Consistency of brand message

The Fresh Start campaign builds on the past communication for the Extra brand focused on the confidence that comes from fresh breath. In this way, Extra is tapping into and reinforcing the distinctive memory structure built up over many years.

2. Freshness that taps into culture

The campaign talks about the fact we could all use a fresh start. And at the same time, the campaign brings freshness to the brand. Importantly, this comes from tapping into popular culture and our yearning to ditch the dull monotony of locked down living. “We hope this film reminds everyone there are brighter days ahead,” explains Ivonne Andreu, Senior Director of Gum & Mints, Mars Wrigley US. “When your big moment comes, EXTRA Gum will be there to help give you a fresh start during your first in-person meeting, first post-pandemic kiss and first social activities as you re-enter life.” (4)

I found the upbeat, optimistic and positive tone of the campaign a refreshing break from countless covid-era ads that have been serious and preachy.

3. Telling a product story

The Fresh Start campaign is a great example of telling a product story in an emotionally involving way. The product plays a starring role in the film, giving long locked-down people the confidence to get outside and start kissing again! It was interesting to read how this brand storytelling approach is a long term strategy for the Extra brand. Back in 2013, a Marketing Society paper reported how the brand team believed that “brand stories have the best opportunity to seed themselves in our unconscious mind are stories that make us feel something.” (5)

4. Focus on fame building

Being top of mind is key for a brand to get chosen at the moment of truth. And this is especially true for ‘impulse’ categories like gum. “Only the first two to three confectionary brands to unconsciously pop into your head at the checkout lane even have the chance to be considered for purchase,” observed the Extra team in their Marketing Society paper mentioned earlier (5).

Focusing on fame for you brand is a way to create this top of mind awareness. Rather than trying to get a detailed message across to a narrow, niche audience, you seek to make the brand famous with a wide group of people. Mars are masters of this approach, which was also used to drive global growth of the Snickers brand, as I posted on here.

5. Excellence of execution

The Extra campaign has a smart strategy. But it also has excellence of execution. The casting, choice of music, direction and acting are all brilliant and add to the impact of the commercial and make it something you’re happy to watch again and again. The attention to detail perfectly captures and makes light of many of the last year’s pet hates, including “unending video calls, the lack of personal grooming, and the general drudgery of being stuck in our homes day after day” (2).

In conclusion, bravo to the Extra team and their agency, Energy BBDO, for a brilliant example of fresh consistency focused on fame building that lifted my day!