W-L Hopes Woman-Bites-Shark Ad Will Reposition Trident Abroad

By Hank Kim

NEW YORK–Warner-Lambert Co. will introduce the international repositioning of its Trident sugar-free chewing gum with a new TV spot from J. Walter Thompson here.

The ad, called ‘Ocean,’ reflects a new health-oriented positioning for the chewing gum, which is marketed by the Morris Plains, N.J.-based company. Previous international advertising campaigns focused on taste with various taglines such as ‘Trident: Taking taste to a whole new world.’

Shot on the Maldive Islands off the coast of India, ‘Ocean’ opens with a woman lounging on an inflatable raft in clear, calm waters. As she pops a stick of Trident gum into her mouth, along comes a shark to attack her.

After a tussle, the spot concludes with the shark swimming away sporting a human bite-sized hole in its dorsal fin, and the woman flashing her pearly teeth in victory. The new tagline is: ‘Trident: The great-tasting gum that’s good for your teeth.’

‘Everyone agreed that a simple demonstration of strong teeth, by turning the tables on ‘shark eats girl,’ was an effective way of doing it,’ said J.J. Jordan, executive creative director of JWT in New York.

The international repositioning better aligns the brand with Warner-Lambert’s U.S. Trident campaign, which features the tagline ‘Chew on this.’

‘This spot represents an opportunity for Trident to reclaim the oral hygiene heritage abroad while maintaining the fun’ of previous positioning, said Warner-Lambert marketing manager Bart Adlam.

Adlam pointed to recent inroads made by competitors in Europe as an impetus for the new ad. Wrigley’s Orbit gum in Portugal, for instance, started touting oral hygiene in its ads, he said.

‘Ocean,’ which will not air in the U.S., breaks in late April in a few markets overseas, including Portugal. JWT’s local offices will handle the media planning and buying.

Warner-Lambert spent $22 million in 1996 in the U.S. to support Trident, according to Competitive Media Reporting.

Copyright ASM Communications, Inc. (1997) ALL RIGHTS RESERVED