What’s one ritual most of us think to do before a date, following a midday snack or after a morning cup of coffee? Check your breath. One quick remedy to the uncomfortable feeling of a dirty mouth is to pop in a breath mint. This small chore of sucking on a coated, capsule-shaped mint can make a big impact on your breath, confidence level and reactions of those you face in upcoming close conversations. There are many companies that produce mints out there, but one company stands out. That company is the manufacturer of the widely known Tic Tac® breath mints.
Back in 1969, the Ferrero Company launched the classic fresh mint flavor of the first Tic Tac® product. As the years progressed, additional flavors were unveiled. In present day, the popular mint is available in spearmint, citrus twist, wintergreen, orange, and cinnamon. Handfuls of Tic Tac® mints rest packaged in tiny, transparent plastic packages and make a distinguishable rattle sound when shaken. Not only is this product recognized in America, it’s available in nearly 100 other countries all over world. Besides being an iconic breath mint, the product also has a unique digital media strategy and style.
The Ferrero Company wanted to market their Tic Tac® brand in a new way. So the company hired Merkly + Partners, a New York-based advertising agency, to come up with an interactive and mobile-friendly campaign and Total Immersion, global leader in augmented reality, to integrate real-time interactive 3D graphics into a live video stream. Together, the companies came up with a 360-degree marketing campaign entitled Shake It Up™. Shake It Up™ encourages Millennials to escape their mundane activities and discover new, unusual ways to spend their time. Interactive television, outdoor and print advertisements feature odd facts, games, pick-up lines and other tidbits of information that all seek to enlighten consumers. The ads contain clever, quick witted sayings, with bold color schemes and moderns designs. Focal pieces of copy are made up of thousands of tiny Tic Tac® mints in one uniform mass of color.
For example, a print advertisement that reads, “Most Americans Spend 13 Years Of Their Lives Watching TV,” has a call-to-action that requests an individual to “shake up” their routine by pulling out their smart phone and viewing the advertisement with augmented reality. Augmented reality is a new technology that superimposes graphics on the real world image. The user is able to watch an animation and interact with the brand. So while the individual looks at their smart phone upon viewing the Tic Tac® ad, a sequence of facts, jokes, and interesting material pop up that all relate back to one concept. That concept is the fact that we spend too much time doing dull, meaningless activities and we really need to “shake up” our daily lives.
After plenty of research, Ferrero discovered a couple key insights about the millennial generation. “We learned that they want to be surprised and entertained. Our response was to create a campaign that inspires them to spontaneously break up their routine,” said Noah Szporn, category manager at Ferrero U.S.A., Inc. “The 360-degree Shake It Up™ campaign goes beyond traditional advertising, especially through the mobile technology of the Tic Tac® Viewr app, which allows consumers to engage with Tic Tac® mints wherever they are through a medium that they never leave behind” (Geffroy, 2012).
Merkley + Partners designed the Tic Tac® Viewr app while Total Immersion developed it. They shared the same goal, and that was to excite the millennial generation with an unusual perspective on the world around them. The app is available for iOS and Android mobile phones. Consumers may also use tablets and iPads to experience this augmented reality. The versatility of using the app from a variety of devices gives it more reach and therefore, brings the brand more success.
Outside of this digital tactic, the Tic Tac® brand seeks to illuminate the crowded streets of New York City. A Times Square ad interacts with consumers by giving them the option to create a personalized billboard image from a consumer’s smart phone by downloading the application. They can then share the image on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram or all three. User-generated content like this is important to create participants in a brand. This ingenious idea makes the Tic Tac® brand stand out and adds a personal touch – which the Millennial generation enjoys. Consumers can also subscribe to the Tic Tac® YouTube Channel, “Like” them on Facebook and follow them on Twitter.
On the Tic Tac® Facebook and Twitter pages, the brand likes to follow three rules. Those rules are to remain consistent, to incorporate trending topics, and to have a great sense of humor. They captivate their audience digitally by posting relevant content that relates back to their Shake It Up™ theme. Consumers are asked to “shake up” their taste buds by liking, favoriting, sharing or commenting on their content. Their brand voice is upbeat and attracts millions of loyal fans giving them a very high reach and engagement. The about section on Facebook even reads, “The Tic Tac® brand wants to provide a gentle reminder to those who may have nodded off in life, that sometimes each and every one of us needs to shake things up” (Zog Digital, 2013).
The Tic Tac® social media strategies are a great example of how brands can bring personality into promoting their products. Facebook users need a reason to follow you, and entertainment is a great way to spark their interest. By incorporating trending topics like Throwback Thursday and using hashtags, Tic Tac® is able to remain current and forward thinking. The brand still uses promoted posts and contests, but they make sure to use a strong sense of humor to spread happiness and engage a loyal fan base. Sometimes they come up with fake Tic Tac® flavors such as cheese fries, popcorn or salted pretzel.