Mention Mentos and most people will be reminded of the rocket fueled viral video traction that catapulted the brands consumer awareness when one fateful day somebody dumped a tube of the mints into their favourite fizzy drink. However, the brand has made a conscious effort to move away from the backyard science of its viral past with a new cultural social media campaign for its gum range.
The brand enlisted the help of seven young sculptors to turn its gum into miniature works of high art as part of a Facebook led campaign to promote its new larger gum bottle packs. The various artists were asked: “How will this much gum inspire you?” and left to their own creative devices.
Each sculptor was given as much gum as they required – which they both chewed and grinded down in food processors – in order to develop their mini masterpieces. The ensuing creations included classical busts, horses and a range of sea creatures. Two of the winning creations were guaranteed to appear in the brand’s next set of print ads.
Some of the hand created sculptures do indeed look like chewed gum (the classical bust, for instance). However, the two final selections - an underwater ode to Jules Verne and girl in classic Southern US attire - do have genuine artistic merit.
A traditional sponsorship of a gallery space isn’t the right fit for Mentos, so utilising social media to develop a Gallery that is uniquely personal to the brand is a smart initiative. The artists in question get exposure for their work and are given the ability to test drive a new – if slightly bizarre - medium. Meanwhile the brand gets the associative benefit of aligning with up and coming artistic talent.