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TBWA\C\D, Skittles Attack the Senses

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CHICAGO Masterfoods USA will take the Skittles multisensory message into the bubble gum category with a $7 million push continuing the tag, "Experience the rainbow."

The campaign, via TBWA\Chiat\Day, New York, includes television, print, radio and Internet components. Two TV spots will debut this week urging consumers to "Chew the rainbow" and "Inflate the rainbow." The first ad shows lumberjacks gnawing the bark off trees. A comrade arrives, saying, "We can chew this. It's got five flavors." His mates cheer, and even the trees raise their branches and join the celebration.

In the second commercial, a young man exits a convenience store rattling Skittles gum out of its flip-top box. A girl asks, "Is that Skittles Bubble Gum, with all the different flavors? Can I have some?" He blows a huge bubble and then floats away.

A print ad in teen publications will tell consumers to "Blow the rainbow."

The effort is part of a $20 million brand advertising budget that has broadened the "Taste the rainbow" message started almost a decade ago by now-defunct D'Arcy, Masius, Benton & Bowles, St. Louis.

"We wanted to evolve it into a bigger idea because kids' involvement with the product is multisensory: it's taste, playing with it, hearing it fall on the table, throwing it to friends, sorting colors," said Lisa Liebman, account director at TBWA/C/D.

The product's five fruit flavors, round shape and crunchy texture with a gum center make it unique, per trade sources, in a gum niche where the top brands are Wrigley's Juicy Fruit, Bubble Tape, Cadbury Adams Bubblicious and Hershey's Bubble Yum. Early tracking results show Skittles Bubble Gum, which hit stores last month, could grow into the No. 1 bubble gum, per Mike Tolkowsky, vp of sugar confectionery marketing at Masterfoods.