Trident Thinks Small, Happy

Trident is giving recession-addled consumers something new to chew on: “A little piece of happy.”

As the economy forces consumers to downshift their materialism a bit, a TV and online push for the brand, launching this month, focuses on small moments of happiness delivered by the brand.

Ads via JWT, New York, expand on the theme. One shows a father taking off on a coin-operated rocket while his son exclaims,“Go, Dad!” Another features a little girl playing He Loves Me, He Loves Me Not. When she plucks the last petal at “He loves me not,” the flower grows another and she gushes, “He loves me!” The ads are short—just 15 seconds. “It’s not meant to be a long, drawn-out promise. It’s really just a moment to help make you smile,” said Trident senior brand manager Becky McAninch.

McAninch said the brand got the idea for the campaign after asking consumers what exactly a Trident world looked like. (The campaign’s been in the works for three years; the recession’s timing was purely “serendipitous,” she added.)

Focus group findings yielded descriptors like, “colorful,” “fun” and full of “great music.” Trident targets consumers between 18 and 49, although the sweet spot is right around 28 or so, McAninch said.

The push is the biggest for the brand since 2005. Owner Cadbury spent $39 million on Trident last year, excluding online, per Nielsen.  The aim is to offset sluggish confectionary sales. Gum, which accounts for 32 percent total revenue, dropped 2 percent in first quarter sales, largely as a result of retailer cutbacks, Cadbury said.

Will it work? Marcia Mogelonsky, a gum analyst at Mintel, said the ads at least are good counter-programming: “They are trying to add a bit of levity in this economy where no one makes jokes about anything.”