Last Wednesday, after a worryingly slow
taxi journey through central London, W+K digital strategist Matt Simpson and I made it to the Internet
Advertising Bureau HQ with a few minutes to spare before the start of the
Creative Showcase Award seminar. Matt had been invited to collect an award for
Stride Gum’s new chew-controlled iPhone game, Gumulon, created by Wieden+Kennedy. As the seminar was
celebrating four months' worth of creative campaign winners and runners up, as
selected by a team of senior creative judges, I was lucky enough to see
presentations on some of the best digital advertising of 2013.
Matt gave an animated presentation that
explained the three main stages of the process of creating Gumulon. The
presentation was very well received by the audience, except one member who
caused a bit of a stir by interrupting Matt to ask what the readership of
Stride was…’Umm, it’s a gum…’
Having downloaded the game and played it several times, which involved chewing my gum extremely vigorously on the tube
home, I particularly enjoyed Matt’s demonstration of how the game works (on a
non-existent phone) and seeing how silly I must look when I play it. But that’s
the point that Matt made about the brand; it celebrates people who boldly do
their own thing, and Gumulon definitely lives up to this value.
Matt was presenting alongside three other
award winners: Glue Isobar’s new Pringles ‘Fan vs. Flavour’ campaign, R/GA
London’s new Getty Images ‘The Feed’ campaign, and Maxus’s new Mercedes
‘#Youdrive’ campaign. My personal favourite out of these three was the Pringles
campaign as I think it best captured the essence of the Pringles brand value of
All in all, attending the seminar was a
really interesting experience that gave me a great insight into the production
of creative campaigns.
Download Gumulon here and try chew-controlled gaming for yourself.
Fridays are always pretty cheerful days, but today just got even better. The chew-controlled game we created for Stride gum, Gumulon, has won first place in the Internet Advertising Bureau's Creative Showcase Awards for July.
The Creative Showcase Awards celebrate creativity and innovation in digital advertising in the UK, choosing a winner and two runners up each month.
Kristin Brewe, IAB Director of Marketing & Communications, said: “Wieden+Kennedy’s terrific Gumulon campaign for Stride represents some ‘out of this world’ creative thinking by immersing players in the amazing adventures of Ace. This is a great example of rewarding product engagement through mobile apps and social sharing, something any brand should ‘chew on’ when evaluating how to work well in two of consumers’ favourite engagement channels—mobile and social.” Read more here.
Oh and if you haven't given Gumulon a spin yet, head on over to the App Store and download it for FREE.
Over the past 12 months we’ve been on a
journey with Stride gum. A long, chewy journey.
We’ve explored the outer galaxies,
pioneered new technology, created a new reason to chew and discovered a new
alien race. We’re now at the end point of this epic voyage, which is
appropriately situated at the bottom of a deep space mine.
The purpose of this interstellar
To fuse Stride gum and video-gaming together in perfect harmony.
Hello there, and welcome to Gumulon.
Available today, free (FREE!) on the App Store,
Gumulon premieres groundbreaking chew track technology, allowing players to
control a free flowing game solely by mastication. Yes, it’s a game you control
by chewing Stride gum.
Gumulon sees you play as Ace, a renegade
alien miner who unintentionally awakes a terrifying subterranean monster. The
aim of the game is to escape from said monster, saving other miners along the
way, by jumping Ace up the deepest mine Gumulon has to offer.
Via the front facing camera of an iPhone or
iPad players use their mouths to control the intergalactic action. You chew,
With Gumulon we didn’t want to just create
a throw away branded game. We wanted to create a new experience, with Stride at
its core, that players would want to return to over and over again.
This meant starting from scratch and
building our own software to make chew tracking a reality. For this we needed a
partner, enter Johnny Two Shoes. Chew-controlled gaming. Not a trick, is it?
An indie games studio of incredibly high
quality, their hard work on the project has helped to create a game we’re all extremely proud of. We hope you enjoy it
Also, a massive shout out to super-producer Dom Felton (#MajorBlazer) and creative
tech Will Hooke who have sacrificed their ability to be in same room as each
other to make this happen. Thanks guys.
There will be more Gumulon chat here in the
near future but at this very moment in the space-time continuum it’s your duty
to go and save Ace. Download the game here.
On Aug. 1, a billboard appeared in the SoHo neighborhood of Manhattan displaying only a date, “08.13.12,” and clues seemed to point to Apple.
Consistent with the style of Apple advertising and packaging, the billboard was black type on a white background and its typeface was a version of Myriad, which Apple uses nearly exclusively. Also noteworthy was the billboard’s location: the intersection of Broome and Thompson streets, 450 yards from the Apple Store on Prince Street.
A SoHo resident, Colin Mackenzie, wrote on Twitter on Aug. 5 that a “big billboard just got put up by my apt with ‘08.13.12’ in what looked like Apple font ... iPhone5 maybe?”
On Aug. 6 on MacRumors, the popular Web site for Apple enthusiasts, “Bendrix” posted a photograph of the billboard and wrote: “What is the meaning of this? Is it Apple related?”
What they were chewing over turns out, appropriately enough, to be gum.
On Monday, the billboard will be replaced by a new one featuring Shaun White, the gold medalist snowboarder, holding a pack of Stride Mintacular, a new flavor that features his likeness on the package.
“Stride Mintacular,” reads the copy, the type treatment again mimicking Apple’s. “Chewing redefined. Again.”
An online video by Stride introducing the Mintacular flavor is shot in the same documentary style as Apple’s product debut videos.
Apple introductory videos, including one for the new MacBook Pro from June that has more than 760,000 views on YouTube, feature designers seated before a white background speaking with awe and wonder about new products. Unlike the Apple videos, Stride uses actors to depict its executives.
“From the moment you pick it up, you instinctively know how to use it,” says an actor in the Stride sendup, as a piece of the gum is shown. “There are no rules at all when it comes to holding it. I don’t need to change who I am to fit the product. It fits me.”
The video and billboards are by the London office of Wieden & Kennedy. The video will be featured in ads on the Web site for The Onion, the satirical publication, on the Stride Facebook page, which has three million followers, and on YouTube.
“A lot of product launches treat each successive variation of their products as if they’re groundbreaking and will change people’s lives,” said Sam Heath, a creative director at Wieden & Kennedy. “They talk about them in this very grand, revelatory, almost religious way, and we thought that it would be fun to take the same approach and make a big hoo-ha over what is essentially a minor thing: a new gum flavor.”
The Stride video is “a great parody and hilarious,” said David Vinjamuri, author of “Accidental Branding” and an adjunct professor of marketing at New York University.
In September 2011, Stride introduced the first flavor attached to Mr. White, Whitemint, featuring his name and likeness prominently on the package. Whitemint now ranks second behind spearmint in sales among more than a dozen Stride flavors, according to Steve Siegal, the senior brand manager for Stride.
The brand, which is owned by Kraft, is aimed primarily to those 18 to 24, and along with being “the most iconic figure in action sports,” Mr. White is “a personality fit for the brand because he’s genuine, authentic and exudes a lot of confidence,” Mr. Siegal said.
On Aug. 21, Mr. White will appear at an event at a 7-Eleven on East 14th Street in Manhattan. The store will be stocked only with packs of Mintacular and Whitemint, and a batch of Mintacular-flavored Slurpees will be served. From its introduction in 2006 through 2011, Stride marketed itself as “the ridiculously long-lasting gum.” Commercials from JWT, New York, part of WPP, featured misguided Stride marketers who, frustrated that they cannot sell more gum because each piece lasts so long, force consumers to spit theirs out. As the new agency for the brand, Wieden & Kennedy has replaced the slogan with “A little bit epic.” In a commercial introduced in May, a young man at a loss for how to comport himself when he sees a former girlfriend in a coffee shop pops in a piece of Stride and settles on gallantly holding the door for her as she leaves. It has 766,000 views on YouTube.
In advertising parlance, the new campaign signals a shift from emphasizing a functional benefit, persistent flavor, to an emotional one, the feeling of ease and confidence from fresh breath.
“Gum is not going to change your world or get you to win the Olympics,” said Mr. Heath, of Wieden & Kennedy. “But it might just give you a little nudge to be relaxed in a social situation.”
There's a nice piece in Adweek about our new work for Stride gum. Here's what it says:
Idea For years under JWT, Stride was “the ridiculously long-lasting gum.” Wieden + Kennedy in London, which took over U.S. ad duties in December, felt that positioning had lasted a bit too long—that the product benefit had been encroached by rivals. W+K decided to explore the emotional benefits of gum instead. “We chatted to a load of gum chewers,” said creative director Sam Heath. “A common theme was how gum gives you just a little boost of confidence, a little nudge to be more comfortable, more ‘yourself’ in any situation. It’s a little bit epic in that way. It helps you be a little more epic sometimes, and I suppose the gum is itself a little piece of epic-ness.” W+K’s first spot for the brand, directed by Traktor, illustrates the new tagline, “A little bit epic,” by showing a guy in a coffee shop who panics when his ex-girlfriend walks in. After popping a piece of Stride and having some ludicrous daydreams about how he should approach her, he handles the situation with aplomb.
Copywriting The agency wrote many scripts but liked the tension of the ex-girlfriend scenario. “We loved the idea of focusing on small, believable wins,” said Heath. “A tiny stick of Stride isn’t going to help you win the day, get that new job you’ve always dreamed of. That felt like ad land. But a little stick of gum might just give you the presence of mind to be normal and uncomplicated the moment you bump into your ex.” The dialogue is mostly in voiceover—it could be the guy’s thoughts or possibly the gum talking. “Hey, isn’t that the girl who tore out your still-beating heart?” the voice says as the girl walks in. The voice wonders how the encounter will go, anxiously cartwheeling fromromance to horror to camp scenarios, based on old movie-genre stereotypes. “We loved the idea of the voiceover kind of spilling over, being carried away and uncontained,” Heath said. “We tried to keep that stream-of-consciousness feel to the writing and find a way that words and pictures could riff off each other.” In the end, the guy suavely opens a door for his ex and says calmly, “Hey.” With a smile, she echoes his reply and leaves. Streamers and confetti fly as the voice speaks the on-screen tagline.
Art direction/filming The spot has a washed-out, vintage look to it with poppy elements. Heath describes it as “bubblegum David Lynch or Mad Men on acid … warm and nostalgic but with a twist of bright-colored pop-culture surreality.” The fantasy scenes are humorously imagined period pieces. “We went spinning with immaculate mustaches and flailing limbs through ’20s silent films, made a brief splashdown in ’50s B-movie land and then rampaged through dodgy ’80s Wall Street, Working Girl blockbusters,” said Heath. The shoot took two days in and around Universal Studios in Los Angeles. Traktor brought “a sincere love of film, a bottomless sense of humor, a winning way with actors, synth-pop-littered iPod playlists and boundless energy,” Heath said.
Talent The agency wanted a “puppy-dog vulnerability from the guy, but he didn’t want to come across as a loser,” said Heath. The girl “needed to feel a little out of reach for him but also down-to-earth enough for you to buy that they might actually have been together.” The voiceover is a different male actor who had “the right amount of nervous energy.” Sound/media Cartoony sound effects reflect the hero’s emotions—an arrow hitting a target as he stirs the heart shape in his cappuccino foam, or a 10-pin bowling strike as he pops the gum in his mouth. “We tried to find sound effects that were wrong but right,” said Heath. “It was all there to try and make each little moment of the story feel as epic as possible.” The spot is running on television and online.
Great news! We have been awarded STRIDE gum’s advertising business in the US. Our responsibilities will cover the U.S. market and include digital and social media activity. The account will be led from Wieden + Kennedy’s London office. (That's us.)
Stephanie Wilkes, vice president US Confections at Kraft Foods, which owns Stride, says she is eager to partner with us. “(W+K's) understanding of the STRIDE brand and gum category is exceptional and we’re eager to see its creative be taken to the next level of success.”
For our part, we’re absolutely delighted to have the opportunity to work with Kraft Foods on the STRIDE business. And we’re looking forward to doing some great work together. We were gutted not to win the pitch for their Trident gum account, but we're chuffed about this appointment.
STRIDE, The Ridiculously Long Lasting Gum was launched in 2006 to give gum chewers a fun, unique and long lasting chewing experience. STRIDE comes in 11 flavors – Winterblue, Spearmint, Sweet Peppermint, Forever Fruit, Sweet Berry, Sweet Cinnamon, Nonstop Mint, Uber Bubble, Stride Spark and Whitemint. To find out more about STRIDE gum, its friends and what the brand is up to, visit: www.facebook.com/stride-gum
It's a nice bit of new biz news to see out the old year.