China Food

Who killed the gum?

“ 
The category of
chewing gum is almost a product in the whole process of manufacturing demand.
 ”
If you want to ask me what I feared most when I was a child, there must be the option of “accidentally swallowing gum / bubble gum into my stomach”.
Because adults have repeatedly told me that if you swallow it, it will stick to your intestines.
So when I accidentally swallowed bubble gum once, I felt finished. I was going to die, and I would die very disgraced.
This is not the only rumor about chewing gum. For some time, it was also rumored that chewing gum was made of rotten leather shoes, and even eventually evolved into an abandoned “umbrella”, which can be said to be more and more outrageous.
But no matter what rumors, they have not prevented chewing gum from running through our lives.
From the big scroll and bibab in childhood, to the green arrow with clear and fresh mouth, and then to the Yida of “protecting teeth”.
Until today, chewing gum appears less and less in our life. The chewing gum bought now can’t be called chewing gum at all, because it doesn’t even need the most basic feature of “chewing”, which is more like peppermint lozenges.
Today, I’d like to talk about the 30-year long game in China’s chewing gum market.
The reason why the business of chewing gum can succeed is that human beings all over the world have a common feature: they have the habit of chewing things.
I don’t know how to explain this in psychology. It may be that we have retained the characteristics of molars in the process of evolution, so chewing can bring decompression. It may also be because we didn’t have enough food in the past. Chewing something can alleviate hunger.
In our country, there is also a history of chewing something to prevent bad breath. When ancient officials went to the court, they used to contain a kind of “chicken tongue fragrance”, that is, cloves, to ensure that bad breath would not smoke the emperor.
The custom of chewing cloves is mentioned in Shen Kuo’s Mengxi Bi Tan and Liu Yuxi’s poem “Xin en shared the ground of dogs and teeth, yesterday with the fragrance of chicken tongue”.
So when chewing gum entered China, it didn’t take much effort to make people accept the concept of fresh breath.
And I think the translation of “gum” accounts for a lot of credit.
I believe everyone wondered a question in childhood: what is the difference between gum and bubble gum? And why can bubble gum blow bubbles while chewing gum can’t?
The following concepts may be a little awkward, mainly due to the differences between Chinese and English. However, in order to clarify the concept of marketing, I think this explanation is still necessary.
Whether chewing gum or bubble gum, gum base endows them with basic characteristics, so they can be collectively referred to as gum base candy.
When gum was invented, it was obviously characterized by chewing and sweetness.
So people added more spices, sweeteners and other additives, and a broad sense of chewing gum appeared, which made it more resistant to chewing and kept sweet for a long time.
Later, a chewing gum company named Farrell introduced a kind of chewing gum that is easy to blow bubbles, named double bubble, which led to the category of bubble gum.
Here’s my food classification method again. Simply put, this classification is sweets, candies, gums, chewing gum and bubble gum.
From the English name, we can see that the literal translation of chewing gum is actually chewing gum, while bubble gum focuses on blowing bubbles.
Because of the slight difference in functionality, it finally leads to the difference in market positioning.
Chewing gum is like adult food, while bubble gum is suitable for children. Therefore, we can see that bubble gum often has more colorful colors and more gorgeous packaging, and the main focus of advertising and marketing is “fun”.
Therefore, the translation of “chewing gum” is very spiritual. It directly reflects the function from the name – it is used to freshen the breath.
Wrigley, the well deserved king of chewing gum, went further and chose the concept of “intimacy”.
This choice is very particular, because chewing gum consumers are generally under the age of 35, and scenes related to love and making friends are more attractive to this group of people.

Based on the “intimate” scene, Wrigley divides the brand communication into two clues: emotional line and pro line.
Pro line attaches importance to functional education and highlights the role of chewing gum in refreshing breath.
Theoretical line attaches importance to emotional communication, while it highlights that Wrigley can enhance interpersonal relationships and make young people close.
Under the logic of these two communication clues, green arrow advertising has produced a classic model.
A pair of men and women looked at each other and ate a piece of green arrow. Then their teeth and cheeks were fragrant and showed a confident smile. Then their heads leaned against their heads and became closer.
In this mode, classic advertisements are constantly pushed to the market.
It not only completed the market education of the function of “eating chewing gum to refresh your breath”, but also bound chewing gum and intimate love relationship through the scene.
This advertising paradigm is quite classic.
When I talked about shampoo in the first phase of the consumer war, I also mentioned that haifeisi first entered the Chinese market and focused on the concept of “Dandruff”. The first advertisement was also a date between men and women. Dandruff caused embarrassment, and then washed her hair with haifeisi, so as to concoct the demand of “Dandruff removal”.
Haifeisi advertisement
Take another look at the slogan of green arrow, what “fresh breath, you and I are closer”, what “green arrow makes us closer”, and “make a friend” in the era of Mayday endorsement.
They are also the dual demands of main emotion and function.
After all, young people always want to make a good impression on each other. Although they may not have a tone, they are also prepared to take a green arrow.
It can be said that the success of green arrow is the success of positioning theory. It is very clear in functional positioning and emotional positioning, and the combination of the two creates a unified brand image and Brand Association for consumers.
In addition, Wrigley does have money and will spend money. Green arrow advertisements one after another.
Four years after listing, Wrigley has won nearly 90% of the domestic market share and almost achieved monopoly. For a long time before Yida became popular, green arrow was synonymous with chewing gum.
The success of the Chinese market makes Wrigley’s sales in overseas markets surpass those in the United States. Until now, China is the most important market for Wrigley outside the United States.
The strength of green arrow not only benefits from the success of its own positioning and strategy, but also lies in the difference between it and traditional candy enterprises in sales mode.
Many students may have known this point, but I’d like to talk about it again.
Consumer behavior can usually be divided into planned purchase and impulsive purchase. As the name suggests, one is to have a clear goal before action, while impulsive purchase often comes from the randomness of shoppers.
As I mentioned in previous issues of Xu Fuji, most candy sales are mainly planned purchases. For example, new year’s products, gifts, and even simple “want to eat sweet” can be classified as planned purchases.
But chewing gum is very dependent on impulse buying.
Many people jokingly call it the category that has grown up in the supermarket “cash register”. People often don’t buy chewing gum on the normal shelves, but on the hexagonal rotating shelves on the cash registers of supermarkets and convenience stores, as well as on the counters of snack bars.
The relationship between Ka and customers is very important. Good Ka relationship and strong dealers can help brands seize the favorable terrain of the cashier and squeeze out competitors.
As a pioneer player, Wrigley has strong advantages in this regard, which is very difficult to subvert. Even if other brands can also spend a lot of money on advertising, as long as Wrigley firmly holds the line and the other party’s publicity is overwhelming, it will be in vain.
Therefore, for a long time, Wrigley had almost no rivals in the domestic chewing gum market.
Only when bibab and dada do so, can brands engage in differentiated competition in the form of bubble gum avoid the edge of Wrigley and seize part of the children’s market share.
Moreover, after entering the 21st century, Wrigley changed its previous style of focusing on the vertical category of chewing gum and launched a radical acquisition war.
In 2004 and 2005, Wrigley bought a large number of candy brands from Spanish Jiakou and kraft, one of the world’s largest food enterprises.
These include zhenzhibang and Swiss sugar, which are familiar to Chinese consumers, as well as potential rivals: big bubble gum.
It can be said that Wrigley has transformed from a gum focused enterprise into a multi brand candy group through acquisition.
However, just as Wrigley vigorously expanded its categories and tried to build a candy Empire, the Challenger appeared.
In 2005, Lotte and haoliyou chewing gum from South Korea were born, and Shengsheng grabbed 20% of the Chinese market.
How did this happen?
The answer is also very simple, only three words: xylitol.
After entering the new century, the basic consumer education of FMCG in the Chinese market has been completed, and the basic categories have been popularized.
With the rapid development of China’s economy and increasingly rich Chinese consumers, there is an urgent need for a round of consumption upgrading to meet more refined and diversified consumption needs.
In the field of snacks and beverages, as children’s obesity and tooth decay have become a major topic of social health, sugar free has become the theme of category innovation and brand upgrading.
At that time, the use of xylitol in diabetic patients was the most popular substitute.
Xylitol has several advantages. Firstly, it is extracted from plants (corncob). The raw materials are natural and stable with high safety. In the child audience market such as candy, safety is very important;
Secondly, solid xylitol will produce a cool feeling in the mouth when eaten, which is naturally matched with chewing gum.
The third is that the technology is mature and widely used.
Previously, in the United States, a similar trend has appeared, and major candy enterprises have laid out the xylitol market early.
Wrigley is no exception. Its first product extra came out in the United States in 1984. In 1996, this product was introduced into China and named “Yida”.
Yes, Yida and green arrow are actually brothers of the same family.
Yida’s entry into China coincides with the killing of green arrow in the market. The company doesn’t need to promote a sugar free gum to dismantle its fist products.
Therefore, Yida only sold low-key in Guangdong in the early stage, and did not even introduce the production line, all of which were directly imported.
This gives Lotte and haoliyou an opportunity to take advantage of.
Lotte knows that Wrigley has been entrenched in the Chinese market for more than ten years, and it must die ugly just now. In order to avoid the sharp edge, Lotte makes differentiation with Wrigley everywhere.
You’re not dominating the supermarkets, so I’ll focus on developing the sales channels of pharmacies.
You are not the main push strip gum, then I will push bottled gum.
You’re not the main mint flavor. I’m the main coffee flavor.
Lotte and haoliyou made a lot of strange moves and beat the old devil back again and again. Seeing that even 60% of the market share could not be maintained, Wrigley finally remembered that it had a right trump card to use.
The important task of saving the company is handed over to Yida.
In fact, Yida is a chewing gum brand deeply bound with “health” both at home and abroad. It mainly focuses on sugar free, oral cleaning and post meal consumption.
However, in China, consumers are obviously used to binding chewing gum with a certain emotion, which is suitable to be combined with product functions.
Yidade reselects an emotional orientation.
This time, the key word they are looking for is “love”.
The reason is also very simple. Sugar free gum needs to focus on its effect of protecting teeth. However, due to policy restrictions, chewing gum as a food cannot emphasize its effect on oral health care too much. A sentence “good for teeth” is already a large-scale line.
By combining “caring” with “cleaning the mouth”, there is the classic slogan: “caring for teeth, caring for you more”.
Once the emotional orientation is established, then we need to find the scene for this emotion.
Just for Yida, this scene has long been ready-made. After eating, drinking and chewing Yida.
Based on the emotional orientation of “love” and the scene of “finish eating and drinking”, Yida has launched two series of advertisements, namely, the convenience store of Yida supermarket in 2009 and the “sour, sweet and bitter” advertising film series starring GUI lunmei and Peng Yuyan from 2010 to 2012.
These two sets of advertisements are classic. Not only did she become the “goddess of Yida” Guo biting, but also brought fire to Zhang Yida of “love apartment”. It has also driven the wave of domestic “micro film” advertising.
I still remember when I was in college, it happened that the “sour, sweet and bitter” series was broadcast. The latest episode of advertisements were often brushed on Renren’s timeline, and the students often went crazy.
The classic lines in this advertisement are also numerous.
“Your Yida! No, it’s your Yida”
“Your Yida is full”
“It’s best to have two together.”
Interestingly, this ad emphasizes the scene very much. Whether it’s the purchase scene of the convenience store or the after dinner scene of the “sour, sweet, bitter and spicy” series, it’s almost a set of Yida instructions.
At the same time, with accurate advertising strategy and relying on the dealer system of going deep into rural canteens and KTV Internet cafes in small towns, Yida won 70% of the sugar free chewing gum Market and won a complete victory.
This victory also enabled Wrigley to tenaciously hold more than 70% of the market share of the Chinese market and retain the throne of chewing gum hegemony under the wave of xylitol.
So far, China’s chewing gum market has entered the era of Yida rule.
The domestic chewing gum market has been playing hard, and the competition in the chewing gum market has been uninterrupted all over the world.
Earlier, we talked about Wrigley’s acquisition of Kraft’s candy business in 2005.
The acquisition made Wrigley a lot of money. After the acquisition, the candy market entered a period of rapid development. Wrigley’s candy business grew at a rate of about 5% every year, and the profit was considerable, among which the profit of chocolate reached 200%.
This acquisition, kraft belongs to cutting meat on the floor.
The regretful Kraft decided to enter the candy market again. They turned their eyes to Cadbury, another big candy company.
As an old British candy enterprise, Cadbury not only owns famous brands such as Cadbury, yikoulan and lotus, but also has a chewing gum brand Trident, which is called “Qingzhi” in Chinese.
Many students may not have heard of this brand, because it didn’t enter China until 2015. However, in the global sugar free chewing gum market, its market share reached 12.95%, ranking second only to Yida.
In order to return to the candy market, kraft spent a lot of money to buy Cadbury for 12 billion pounds (about US $18.239 billion) in 2010, becoming the world’s second-largest chewing gum enterprise.
Just two years before Kraft bought Cadbury, Wrigley sold itself to Mars, the world’s largest food producer and Kraft’s old rival, for $23 billion. The whole group was also renamed Mars Wrigley.
Cadbury and Wrigley, which were originally competing in the chewing gum market, committed themselves to giants. A new round of gum war will start again.
So, why do so many candy categories and giants have to stare at chewing gum?
The answer is also very simple: gum is highly profitable.
After Kraft acquired Cadbury, the operating gross profit margin of the whole company, that is, excluding the profit margin of human marketing, can not catch up with the net profit margin of a single category of chewing gum.
As a category with a history of 100 years, chewing gum is extremely mature in terms of raw materials, formula or production technology. There is little technical content and scarcity, and the bargaining power of upstream producers is very low.
You can imagine how much money chewing gum makes.
In order to challenge Mars Wrigley, kraft made a careful deployment before entering the Chinese chewing gum market.
It took a year to investigate and understand the tastes and buying habits of Chinese consumers.
Secondly, in 2011, kraft split its North American business and global business into two independent companies. The company responsible for North America is also called Kraft, while the company focusing on the global market and pursuing rapid growth is called Yizi.
Yizi’s most important market is in China.
Yizi even found a new CEO in China. The purpose is obviously to fight against Mars Wrigley in the candy market.
In 2012, kraft, or Yizi, officially launched a charge, but the player they sent was not their strongest Qingzhi, but a younger brand “xuanmai”.
Kraft’s target group for hyunmai is young people aged 18 to 24.
Therefore, xuanmai is full of young people’s aggression from strategic positioning to brand image and marketing style.
Let’s start with strategic positioning. Green arrow focuses on fresh breath and Yida focuses on tooth protection and cleaning. They are all subdivision functions. However, the positioning of xuanmai will completely overturn the old chewing gum market as soon as it comes up.
He walked into the field and shouted to the big man at the scene:
It’s time for you old men who chew for a while to get out of the historical stage and give your place to young people with long-lasting firepower!
Indeed, non chewing is a disadvantage of almost all traditional chewing gum. But before, it was regarded as a normal phenomenon by manufacturers and customers. Now dazzle step up and poke everyone’s weakness, just to lift the posture of the table.
Besides, brand image.
Strip chewing gum was popular in the green arrow era, bottled chewing gum was popular in the Yida era, and at xuanmai, it took out 6 and 12 pieces of “money packaged” chewing gum.
To some extent, the innovation in packaging design is also a challenge to the invariable chewing gum packaging in the past.
Of course, the most worth saying is its marketing style.
In the past, the advertising style of chewing gum paid attention to the dual positioning of emotion and function and scene display. This methodology has basically been finalized by Wrigley.
The most lasting way to show your brand is to use this set of advertising.
For example, while chewing dazzle step while writing ideas, the result is that notes are pasted all over the company. And while chewing dazzle step while dancing spin dance, the result penetrated the floor.
Then there is the well-known “can’t stop at all”.
When hyunmai went public, the era of video website and social network communication has come. This pure sand carving advertisement, which is full of creativity and has no emotion, is naturally more suitable for patch advertising in style to attract attention.
In addition, in terms of the choice of spokesperson, xuanmai used Ke Zhendong who had just become popular because of his role in “those years”, and had not taken drugs or played in his childhood. He also titled “happy boy” in 2013.
From the perspective of competition, xuanmai is still walking around green arrow and Yida.
The core customer base of chewing gum is under the age of 35, which is already very young, but xuanmai is more radical in youth and focuses more on segmenting groups. In essence, it still avoids the main market of green arrow and Yida.
Otherwise, it’s just “delicious and lasting”, and it’s difficult to compete with the opponent without a new main function.
But in any case, “can’t stop at all” has been deeply rooted in the hearts of the people. This wave of raid is very successful, and Wrigley must take the move.
In order to cope with xuanmai, Wrigley quickly launched the new “Wrigley 5” benchmarking.
Both adopt similar styles in visual design. In the face of dazzled “persistence”, Wrigley 5 played the corresponding selling point “strong”.
However, in front of “can’t stop at all”, Wrigley 5 is weak.
It is the channel that really drags hyunmai.
As we mentioned earlier, channels are divided into Ka (key customers) and dealers.
Ka mainly refers to large chain customers such as Shangchao convenience stores. For example, Wal Mart, Carrefour and HEMA.
And dealers can help brands go deep into circulation channels such as grocery stores and supermarkets.
Compared with Wrigley, which has been deeply involved in the Chinese market for more than 30 years, kraft, which once gave up the Chinese candy market, has not dealt with dealers for too long and neglected to maintain the distribution channels.
When it came time to fight with Wrigley and fight in the street, I found that the canteens and supermarkets were standing here.
Despite the smooth distribution of xuanmai in the commercial supermarket channel, there is only one leg left to walk. In many places, 90% of the distribution of hyunmai can only rely on big supermarkets.
This is also the ultimate fate of FMCG. Advertising can be different, but in the end, you have to see the real chapter on the shelf.
If time is enough, hyunmai has the opportunity to improve the dealer system and compete with Wrigley.
But time is not on the side of xuanmai.
In 2014, China’s chewing gum market reached the peak market size of 12 billion, and then turned around and fell sharply. By 2018, the market had only 10.1 billion left, with an amazing compound annual growth rate of – 3.8%.
That is, in 2014, a product was born, and its influence is so great that even the chewing gum market that can’t be hit by eight poles is deeply affected.
This product is “mobile payment”.
Just as the delivery platform has squeezed the instant noodle industry, the popularity of mobile payment has also squeezed the scene of gum purchase.
First of all, the popularity of mobile payment has greatly accelerated the payment process in supermarkets. People’s time in front of the cashier has been shortened. Naturally, there is not so much time to impulse and consume a pack of gum.
Secondly, the emergence of mobile payment also killed a common consumption motivation “change” in the past.
In the past, it was normal to exchange change or buy a piece of chewing gum at the cashier’s counter in order to collect a bill. After the emergence of mobile payment, the use of change almost disappeared, and chewing gum, as a small commodity, also lost an important purchase motivation.
Looking back, the category of chewing gum is almost a product in the whole process of manufacturing demand.
First of all, it doesn’t need to chew repeatedly to freshen the breath. The breath is mainly restrained by the mint flavor added in the green arrow. Breath fresheners are obviously more effective than chewing gum.
So today’s bottled green arrow is simply filled with mints. Although we see that the first reaction of green arrow is chewing gum, can we still call it chewing gum if we give up the gum based ordinary mints?
Secondly, the xylitol storm set off in Yida era, although under the banner of protecting teeth, on second thought, it can’t stand. The best way to protect your teeth is not to eat sugar.
Finally, in the xuanmai era, the functional properties of chewing gum have been said to have nothing to say, only a random fist and chasing the trend, but it has completely lost the scene.
It can’t be said that chewing gum has been eliminated, but in today’s era, it’s hard to play new ideas.
I remember when I was a child, a small green arrow sold for $1.5.
For children, it’s a huge sum of money – until today, when I see a dollar five, I still subconsciously think it’s a big money.
So whenever I have a chance to eat a piece of gum and experience the rare sweetness, I hope that the sweetness will not dissipate, I hope the green arrow can chew all the time, and I hope the big roll can be extended indefinitely.
Perhaps just like the past, no matter how we expect it, it will be farther and farther away from us in the repeated chewing of life, until it is tasteless.
Nothing special, but for any brand, any person, and even any era, sweetness is always short, and taste like chewing wax is eternal.
Author: IC laboratory; Source: IC Laboratory (ID: insightplusclub), reprint has been authorized. Reprint authorization and media business cooperation: Amy (wechat: 13701559246); Cherry (micro signal): [(click the picture to see the detailed introduction). Read

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