Sweet ‘N Low Goes Retro

It still might be your mom’s Sweet”N Low, but it could be yours, too. That’s the message behind a new campaign for the iconic artificial sweetener, intended to relaunch — but not remake — the classic brand.

The campaign was created by Mother, New York. Print work for Sweet ‘N Low targets both longtime fans of the sweetener and the potential (younger) consumer. The brand’s parent company, Cumberland Packing Corp., hopes to broaden its demographic beyond 45-year-old-plus women, who have been the traditional buyers of the product.
To look forward, Mother glances back, creating illustrations culled from 1960s and ’70s flower power and psychedelia. The color pink is prominent, as is the familiar single-serve paper packet with the classic logo that appears in the new ads. The graphic work is clean and text-free, except for the simple descriptor — “zero-calorie sweetener” — that departs from the category norm of explaining product benefits.
Gone are any references to the Pink Panther, the animated character that’s been used as the brand mascot, and former spokesman Regis Philbin. Mother executives said they didn’t want to borrow equity, believing that Sweet ‘N Low had enough of its own to power the advertising. Its history and nostalgia are selling points, especially for loyalists, and its zero calories make it highly marketable today.
“We’re not trying to reinvent the brand, we just want to make it more contemporary and relevant,” said Bobby Hershfield, co-cd at Mother. “We didn’t set out to make a retro campaign, but this is the look that emerged from staying true to the brand. It happens to be in fashion right now.”
The advertising, on which Cumberland intends to spend upwards of $12 million through the end of the year, launched first as digital posters and videos. Ads are also currently running in women’s publications like Us Weekly, Woman’s World, People and Good Housekeeping.
Still to come are outdoor ads like bus shelters, storefronts, art installations and other creative. The agency and client are considering a line of merchandise, Hershfield said, to take advantage of the trend-right art.
“It could be mugs, saucers, T-shirts,” Hershfield said. “We’re in the early stages of discussing it, but we’d like to extend the illustrations into areas beyond straight advertising.”