BBH Breaks U.S. Spot for Mentos Breathmakers

NEW YORK Bartle Bogle Hegarty’s first stateside work for Perfetti Van Melle’s Mentos Breathmakers introduces “The more you eat, the fresher things get” as a tagline.

The 30-second television spot, directed by Rick Lemoine of in New York, broke last month and is running on network and cable stations. It shows a man with a splinter in his finger who has attention lavished on him because he pops a few Mentos Breathmakers. Other, more seriously wounded patients are ignored.

“What we were trying to do was work with what we call ‘social magnetism’—the more you eat, the more people are attracted to you,” said Kevin McKeon, executive creative director at the New York shop.

This is the first TV spot for the new brand, a mild breath mint. While BBH handles the brand globally, U.S. ads have been created by Barefoot Advertising in Cincinnati. That shop broke a print ad introducing the product in August 2002 that carried the tagline, “Mighty tasty mint.”

“We’re evaluating our options on working with [BBH] on an ongoing basis,” said Bob Howard, vp of marketing, North America for the Erlanger, Ky.-based company, adding that Barefoot is a “key partner who works on the Mentos business.” He declined to comment further.

Humor was important when creating the ad, McKeon said, as a nod to Mentos ads from the mid-1990s that garnered attention for being kitschy and oddly European. “The ads in the past didn’t take themselves too seriously,” McKeon said. “We wanted to retain all of that, but we didn’t want it to look like those ads. We wanted there to be a clear separation for the new product.”

In addition to the TV spot, BBH’s campaign includes an online component breaking this month. The interactive viral push for Mentos Breathmakers asks viewers how many breath mints to give to a camper being stalked by a bear (pick two, for example, and the bear starts to break dance).

Perfetti Van Melle spent about $12 million advertising Mentos in 2002, according to CMR.

Other creatives on the spot included Gianfranco Arena, art director; Peter Kain, copywriter; producer Zarina Mak; and executive producer Mary Cheney. Ian Mackenzie of Mackenzie Cutler in New York was the editor.