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Jack Trout and Al Ries wrote about the perils of brand extensions in thier masterpiece of old school branding and advertising titled “Positioning: The Battle for Your Mind.”
Mentos could have easily fallen victim to the notion that strong brands should never extend product lines. It is a slippery slope that, if done wrong, erodes the core product and potentially share-of-mind and wallet. However, Mentos seems to shine in this light as they move from candy to gum (which is not really a big leap but nonetheless needs finesse).
By sticking to the original shape of the core product and having a playful go at their advertising which is inline with past consumer marketing efforts, they were off to a good start. They then went from good to great by utilizing offline media to build online traffic with a cute little usage of neat little site that harnesses consumer-generated-content in a way that is (again) playful and on brand. They have done it right and I applaud the effort (not sure who the AOR is, but I like the work).
Check out Make Art Pop and see what I mean. I passed by some interesting graphics in the subway and on outdoor posters – my only critique is that I had to look a bit for the url in the subway ad – it did not “pop”. However, I did remember the domain/url easily once I found it in the ad – so they had a win there too. The site itself is not going to rock your world, but it is cute and effective (although many parts did not seem to be working and did not load properly).
Ultimately, we are talking about gum here. And, that is the point. We are talking about gum. The simple fact that we are discussing it proves they did a great job. It is fun, on brand and there is no doubt that I will recall they are in the gum game.
Via the Diet Coke experiments and the zeal to embrace new media and the creative consumer, Mentos is on the minds of both marketers and consumers. They have quickly become a brand I can connect with and talk about and I know that to be true of many others. After what we learned at yesterday’s Mass to Grass Word of Mouth Marketing conference in Toronto, this is a win for Mentos on many levels.
All this before I have even tried the product, which is the biggest win for Mentos as I will be doing that shortly.