Why 5 React Gum TV Spot Works: Customer Identity Recognition


5 React Gum Campaign: I can’t stop thinking about it! It’s already a good 6 months old, but I finally feel like it’s at the point of cultural saturation where it’s starting to become reference-able.

Some background on the spot:

A new 5 React commercial by Energy BBDO in Chicago, part of the BBDO Worldwide unit of the Omnicom Group, was shot in the science-fiction style of the “Matrix” movies. In the spot, which will have its premiere on May 17, two women and a man sit side by side as a large mechanical arm squirts out an amorphous material, which to one woman appears as the shape of a flower, to the other woman as a hawk, and to the man as an octopus. The spot’s otherworldly aesthetic, and the intrigue about the gums’ flavor, are “all about building that deep emotional relationship with consumers so that consumers are with you on a journey,” Mr. Chibe said.

[source: NY TIMES]

Arguably any campaign done well should be rooted in just that sort of customer journey, but the 5 React campaign went above and beyond just traditional TV channel to do so. Firstborn and EVB created a really engaging website for 5 React that allows for personalization to underscore the gum’s key differentiating factor. Also Wrigley’s leveraged social channels as well as some fun 3D glasses in smart ways too (partial case study here in case you missed it).

There’s something so fresh and boldly current about the 5 react product and I’d say the way it’s communicated holds up. I want to call this ineffable asset the mood ring factor– of the product itself: its shape shifting flavor: from orange to mint and beyond based on your taste buds etc it’s like a modern pop rocks almost. A throw back to experiential snacking. I just LOVE IT as a product and concept. Not to mention its arresting visuals (see Creativity for abstractions & below for a still from the tv spot):

As for the campaign’s reception, it seems to have sparked enthusiastic fans and equally vibrant haters, many of whom object to the “star trek” feeling of the campaign. What seems to be in the sweet spot for its fans is that 5 react has created a journey to take fans on and an unspoken story that feel almost like a movie trailer. The strong visual identity has become a vehicle for storytelling within the campaign, which I see as a growing and viable strand of brand identity evolution lately.

As an opposite end of the spectrum to something like Diesel’s Be Stupid that cuts through the 4th wall and is self-aware / cheeky trying to recast a wider net to open up the brand to new consumers and redefine it to those who might be complacent. Of course, both work and are suited to different marketplaces and products, but for me the 5 React technique is much more artistry vs disruption. Almost going the webisode route to communicate brand identity is ultra important for a product like 5 that is newer and may confuse many customers.I love that 5 leverages that confusion in a way that makes the product just a mirror of you and what you bring to it (arguably as all consumer experiences are.) I took delight in noting that many YouTubers felt this was a trailer and are convinced that interpreting the signs of what the flavor appears to you as — e.g. octopus or flower etc– is a key plot point. When conversation becomes about working together to solve for unknowns in the creative, you’ve succeeded.

Again, major kudos to Energy BBDO, Firstborn, and EVB for going for the reaction in a crowded marketplace full of unsticky kids in denim and cute but tired (IMHO) orbit parent / kid dirty mouth dynamics.

Have you seen the spot? What do you think? Tried the gum? What’s your Reaction to 5?

Article Info
Posted by: Lexie Kier
Thinking About: Advertising / Creativity / Culture / Design / Digital / Product / Social / Strategy
Location: NYC
Website: http://lexiekier.com
Twitter: @a0k
  1. Mel

    great post. agree on the strategy. nice take on identity and your ‘mood ring’ term works well if a bit dated. i had not seen the spot and it reminded me a bit of the oil BP spill visuals. wonder if Energy BBDO was hitting the LSD tabs with this one.

  2. Craig

    The direction and editing on it seem exceptional. There’s just nothing in it that’s not interesting to watch.

    The packaging of the gum itself reminds me a little of old Polaroid film or Pong http://www.gameandweb.com/images/pongs.jpg – not sure if it’s up to the level of the ad campaign, but maybe retro groovy?

    • Lexie Kier

      Totally! It has a great cinematic quality that feels fresh and current.

      Didn’t you say the spot made you try the gum too? What did you think?

  3. LNA

    really enjoyed this. i hear so much about what makes ads ineffective from a sales standpoint but no one really breaks down why the creative or strategy works very often. the “mood ring” image makes so much sense to me and it reminds me a little bit of the American Express “my life my card” campaign with celebrities since it’s all about you.

    Also this is my first time to this blog I saw the link on twitter, and i’ve spent a bit poking around. especially like the way the tags are so prominent on that drop down menu. _LNA

  4. jb

    spoken like a planner!

    the only caveat i’d like to bring up is the webisode / similar approach to a brand/product that doesn’t already have strong footing in a given mkt. it’s clearly a risk as initial interaction could risk creating an annoyance association that would be hard to undue.

    yet in this case i agree it succeedes but as you point out it created a rift, lovers and haters. both vocal. now while the haters may be niche they are potential customers.

    what i am saying is this. going this route is great if you have the money to dump into top quality creative OR creative that has elements of irrational content not obviously apparent what it is but meme worthy so to speak.

    regardless i agree with your assessment 110% and it’s very well written lexie. props.

  5. jb

    btw on gum spots, this one takes the cake, especially in the webisode / epic format. member this?

    prom date, it’s brill: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9tcKdfy1Ego

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