Necessity is the Mother of …You guessed right! A Pandemic Lesson

Kovid-19 is a dramatic situation where businesses are struggling to take back control of market. Demand has shrunk for many businesses and our star startups OYO, UBER, OLA, Swiggy etc are breathing with difficulty. Probably this is time to think wise and innovatively.  Wait and watch may be suicidal.

 The Chewing Gum & mint business is no different in this pandemic. The business that runs into billions of dollars annually has lost its sheen as the demand has plummeted. The distribution & purchase across retail has dropped due to the coronavirus outbreak, social distancing proved bad for gum and mint sale and demand has dropped to 50% in recent time, reported by CEO Michele Gross Buck. However, there is a more specific & interesting reason for the sales to drop over 50%, as per a statement by Hershey.

 “These categories are much more functional than emotional. The advertising pitch point for chewing gum/mint brands has always been ‘social confidence’. This has worked wonderfully for them over the years. With more people staying at home, communicating through digital channels and aiming to maintain at least six feet of distance from others at all times, fresh breath has declined in importance. The widespread practice of social distancing has hurt sales of gum and mints. One of the major reasons people buy gum is for social confidence with others. With the current market scenario & people being extra cautious about maintaining distance, it was important for Hershy’s to change the pitch point of these brands.

 Hershey identified a new problem that people, particularly health workers (but applicable to everyone)  were facing; you got to wear your face mask whole day; this is the vital safety measure and new norms in social, professional and all other groups. But long hours of wearing face mask has also prompted a side effect– “mask breath” – your own bad breath.

And Hershey was quick to ride upon the opportunity. There brand team and in-house creative team, C-SWEET, quickly proposed the solution; an agile campaign #MintBeforeYouMask. In this 15-second spot, a woman puts on a mask while the voiceover says “Thank you for wearing a mask. For grandparents, neighbors and cashiers” — and then adds “How about a mint before you mask? Because mask breath, it’s real.”

 To kick off the #MintBeforeYouMask campaign, Hershey is including Ice Breakers mints in their goodwill packages that are being sent to various healthcare institutions and first responders across the country.

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Dr.Kshitiz Sharma

Associate Professor, ABBS School of Management
kshitiz@abbssm.edu.in

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