Wrigley’s Extra says ‘cause-related’ marketing is now essential for brands as it rolls out Smile Back project

Chewing-gum brand Wrigley’s Extra is the latest to shake-up its marketing and move towards ‘cause-related’ campaigns, something its marketing director Julio Guijarro says is now “essential” if it’s to meet customer expectations.

The Extra Smile Back Project has been designed to educate families on the importance of good oral health. For every pack of Extra sugarfree gum sold in the UK during the eight week campaign period, Wrigley will make a donation to its chosen charity partner, Action for Children, to fund children’s oral health education.

It will be underpinned by a TV ad - created by AMV BBDO – which will highlight the importance of protecting children’s smiles.

The brand has also teamed up with award-winning children’s author and playwright Joseph Coelho and illustrator Sheena Dempsey to create a children’s book - The Lost Smile – which centres on the story of a little boy who can’t find his parents’ smiles and so goes on a smile hunt to find them.

The book will be available to purchase via a dedicated website with all profits from sales split equally between Action for Children and the Oral Health Foundation.

Copies of the book will also be distributed free of charge through a Wrigley’s Extra partnership with supermarket chain The Co-operative in an effort to reach children in parts of the UK where rates of tooth decay among children is particularly high.

It's a departure from Wrigley Extra's previous marketing efforts, which has resulted in ads fronted by the likes of Antonio Banderas and Ashton Kutcher showing how chewing gum can help you 'break up with junkfood'.

However, Guijarro explained of the shake-up: “As a major brand, we feel it’s important to give something back. We know that we can use our marketing expertise and reach to make a real difference

“Chewing sugarfree gum has been proven to help protect your teeth, so protecting the smiles of children is a cause that we can really get behind.”

He added that it is now “essential” for brands to do more than just create products and that consumers today have greater expectations of the brands they love.

"We have a responsibility to do what we can, where we can, to make a difference," he added.

Money raised via the eight week campaign will create the charity’s first ever oral health workshops for families around the UK. A total of 690 educational sessions – endorsed by the Oral Health Foundation - will take place in children centres and family support services across the UK from August 2016 to August 2017.

Wrigley estimates that some 10,000 children and 5,000 parents will benefit from the programme.

Guijarro said that moving forward, cause-related’ campaigns will form a core part of Wrigley’s marketing strategy.

“We would like to do more of these sorts of initiatives in the future,” he said. “The very essence of our brand is about giving people the confidence to smile back at the day and this is something we will continue to bring to life throughout our activities in 2016 and beyond.”

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