Friday, February 8, 2013
Lotte Zeus Gum (product info.)
Gum has to be one of the hardest products to market. The utility of gum is that it freshens breath, cleans teeth, or gives various ways for those with unremitting oral fixations to exercise them without resorting to things like eating, smoking, or sucking their thumbs. It's not the least bit sexy to market gum as "adult pacifiers", though I guess you could try to hook them in with it being an incredibly disgusting art supply.
Lotte has an angle which caters to the need to feel that we have more power by virtue of emulating a cow in a field working its cud. They have re-released a line of gum (repackaged and enhanced flavors) named "Zeus" so you can believe yourself not only to be a god, but the big daddy of all of the gods. To further enhance your sense of empowerment, they have given them appropriate names that will make you feel like stuffing a stick in your mouth and masticating it will give you the power to smite your enemies. The names of them are "thunder spark", "aurora curtain", "snow storm" and "rain shower."
One has to wonder how each of the flavors was assigned. After all, what does an aurora taste like? Will the "thunder spark" shock your tongue? Frankly, "rain shower" sounds downright boring next to the other options. Part of what makes this gum unique is that they are layering it and putting an "accent" flavor in the middle. In "rain shower", for example, there is a green tea "accent" sandwiched between peppermint "base" flavors. When you explain it as "green tea and peppermint", it sounds a lot less exhilarating than calling it "rain shower". The "aurora" is essentially your basic juicy fruit rather than norther lights on your tongue. Lotte has gone to so much effort to make these sound like more than they are, and I've just gone and spoiled half of the party for everyone.
The spokesman for the gum is Dai Tamesue, who is apparently a well-known athlete in Japan. The fact that I had never heard of him befroe in no way reflects on his lack of international notoriety. The truth is that I don't know any famous American athletes either. Every time I play Trivial Pursuit with my husband, I answer any sports question, regardless of the involved sport, with the same reply because I only know one famous guy, Pete Rose. The question could be, what famous Japanese karate champion was caught spooning a Shetland pony and committed seppuku in disgrace and I'd still answer, "Pete Rose." I'm just not that into sports, though if that actually had happened, I might find myself more interested in the private lives of those who practice karate.
The commercial shows Dai running through the street as the elements for each flavor of gum flash over his head. He's a runner or hurdle jumper or some such so, you know, he has to be showing us his stuff in the commercial. Of course, the whole image of an athlete would work better if he wasn't wearing a suit and tie while he was fleeing the nightmarish changes in the meteorological circumstances. Also, he's not chewing gum while he runs despite cramming some into his mouth before he starts.
The advertising for this line promises that they will 'evoke new emotions'. I have to admit that, though I've had some gum in my time, I've never found it to be a particularly emotional experience. Honestly, I also believe that, if you're turning to gum to make you feel something, it might be time to have your medication changed.
Those who are so excited by the concept of this gum and it's packaging that they would like to plaster pictures of it on their desktop can find some wallpapers here. I know you'll all be rushing to download right this very moment.