Breath Mints as ‘Social Currency’

The Wall Street Journal: “For makers of breath-freshening mints and gum, there is no such thing as over-sharing. From big candy companies to small artisanal confectioners, the makers of mints are tinkering with product design, packaging, and marketing, all to encourage us to share … A mint is ‘a social currency,’ said Jeff Wurtzel, a marketing brand director for Mars Wrigley Confectionery, which makes Wrigley’s gum, Life Savers, Altoids and other breath-freshening treats. ‘You connect with someone else by offering something small’.”

“This year, the company plans to launch Extra Chewy Mints, which will come in a plastic package with an opening designed for easy sharing … In the early 1900s, Altoids were packaged in a tin to keep the mints fresh, according to Mr. Wurtzel. But the container turned out to have unexpected sociable benefits. ‘It’s literally in your hand and it’s an extension of you when you open it,’ Mr. Wurtzel said of the Altoids tin.”

“Mints can play a communal role in offices and restaurants. At the Minneapolis location of Industrious Office, a co-working space, the community manager, Marie Adrian, keeps a bowl of individually wrapped mint Life Savers on her desk. The mints have become a post-lunch routine for many people, creating a natural ‘touchpoint’ with the space’s members, Ms. Adrian said … All that sharing doesn’t just spark sociability. It means more business for Tic Tac and other mint makers.” Todd Midura, the vice president of marketing of Tic Tac North America, comments: “If you’ve got people sharing, it adds more occasions.Before you know it, you pass around that pack and it’s empty.”

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