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Wham Bar

Opinion: How can Tangerine Confectionery revitalise the Wham Bar?

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By Stephen Lepitak, -

October 19, 2011 | 5 min read

Last week, it was announced that Tangerine Confectionery had acquired the ownership rights to produce the Wham Bar following the closure of its previous owner. But how can the company look to revitalise what was once a highly successful brand? The Drum asked some professionals from across differing marketing sectors including Design, PR, marketing and online search, for their own ideas.

Anyone who grew up with the Wham Bar will remember it fondly. It's a British icon and any packaging updates will need to be considered carefully. I was lucky enough to be involved in a couple of projects for McGowans in the late 80s and in those days there were no computers to create those bright graphics - they were all hand drawn. Wham Bars look like a box of fireworks - they are incredibly exciting. Whoever has the enviable task of updating this classic piece of packaging will need to apply the same artisan techniques that made it so recognisable and compelling when it was first released. I hope the changes are minimal and the Wham Bar continues to win the hearts of many kids in the future.

Derek Sneddon, director of design consultancy Pocket Rocket Creative

Thinking about the Wham bar hit me with a massive wave of 80s nostalgia – and drew blank-ish looks from the younger members of the team. It reminded me of when I was at school and we thought Wham bars we officially endorsed by the band (who were the biggest pop band at the time). So, I would go really big with an OTT 80s theme – all Smash Hits jokes & typography, with bold primary colours. And if they’re going to have a new name? Comebacks are the big thing at the moment. I would have a Battle of the Comeback Bands, with the winning band having the bar named after them. I’m not talking about the quality acts, but people like Dollar & Shalamar and half-forgotten one-hit wonders that will make “kids today” laugh their heads off (or fall in love with, as happened with the Rick-Roll).

Jenny Simpson, head of PR and content for SEO and PPC consultancy Stickyeyes

As a kid of the 80’s I have a great affection for Wham. It conjures up the good old days before Marathon became Snickers, and Opal Fruits turned into Starburst. Everyone knows it’s a cult sweet, but you can’t rely on cult status alone, if the brand is to see any growth. Wham has the potential to be the Irn-Bru of the confectionery world, but to achieve that , they need to invest in the brand, not rely on its cult standing. If it was my brand, I’d turn its inherent 80s-ness into wacky, uplifting, nostalgic marketing ideas.

Giles Moffatt, managing director of marketing consultancy Marmaduke Grimwig

How would we bring back everybody’s favourite chewy confectionery bar, Wham? By also bringing back their best-loved, super-cheesey 80s duo Wham! of course!

To revitalise the Wham bar brand, the PR strategy would be to associate the confectionery with the much-loved band, Wham! We would offer free iTunes downloads on the Wham bar microsite of classic festive song, ‘Last Christmas’. This would include using Twitter to get topics such as #bringbackwham trending and Facebook, to encourage fans to post pictures and videos of them in a ‘Wham! style’.

An e-petition would support the campaign to encourage sales to make the popular 80s track the 2011 Christmas number one, given that it was pipped to the post when it was originally released in 1984.

On popular demand, we’d approach George Michael and Andrew Ridgeley to hold a one-off gig for 500 holders of exclusive golden tickets, which would be hidden inside Wham bars around the UK, causing fans to buy the bars by the case load.

Jane Carroll, account director, Peppermint PR

Sometimes the threat of extinction is just what a brand needs to propel it into the mainstream press. Tangerine will need to be quick to capitalise on the recent interest and should execute a consumer PR campaign surrounding the ‘tongue tingling’ sensation only a Wham bar brings. Look at introducing new flavours and ways of using the bars in baking, such as Wham Bar cupcakes, cookies and even milkshakes. The bar should launch at its original price of 10p for an initial period, encouraging people to reminisce about buying it as a child. All this, of course, is if George Michael doesn’t answer the phone…

Jessica Wilkinson, PR executive for SEO and PPC consultancy Stickyeyes

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