Very general overview of the plan and how it will address the problem
In 1780, Altoids were first introduced to the market in London. Throughout history, the brand has been quite successful, and their original Peppermint mints are currently the number one mint in the U.S. Due to their long history in the market, Altoids also has a high brand awareness. In the past year, however, they have fallen behind both Tic Tacs and Ice Breakers in the total of amount of sales in the category, with $97 million in sales compared to the category’s $685 million total.
When the mints were first released, they were sold in cardboard boxes and were marketed to help relieve stomach discomfort. Eventually, Altoids shifted from stomach relief to being known as simple, breath freshening mints.
Altoids are described as “Curiously Strong Mints.” They have an icy flavor as well as a unique size and shape, and they come in a small tin package. They are perceived to be a premium quality product. The original flavors come in 1.76 ounce tins, and the available flavors are Peppermint, Wintergreen, Cinnamon, and Spearmint. Arctic flavors are available in Peppermint and Wintergreen as well, coming in 1.2 ounce tins. Additionally, Altoids has a group of mints called Sugar-Free Smalls, which are available in 0.37 ounce tins. The Sugar-Free Smalls are not made with gelatin, so vegans and vegetarians can enjoy them as well.
Wrigley, the #1 maker of chewing gums in the world, owns Altoids along with other brands such as Juicy Fruit, Life Savers, Orbit, Starburst and Skittles. They have operations in over 50 countries worldwide, and their products are sold in around 180 countries.
Altoids lacks a regional emphasis, as they are placed in stores both nationwide and worldwide. They are sold in grocery, convenience stores, mass stores and online. Their price ranges from $0.99- $1.79. They are often perceived as slightly more expensive than other breath mints due to their tin packaging.
Almost all advertising efforts in the past have focused on traditional advertising methods, mainly print. All ads have had similar characteristics—simple, with little color. The original red Altoid tin is almost always pictured.
Two of Altoids’ top competitors are Tic tacs and Ice Breakers. Ice Breakers is very active on social media, and recently released an ad campaign featuring a unicorn with the phrase “break through.” Their advertising efforts have successfully attracted younger adults between the ages of 18-24. Tic tacs is very active on social media as well, their recent campaign features videos of a tic tac embarking on mini adventures. Tic tacs position themselves as a “flavor changing experience.”
Altoids belong to the gums/mints/breath fresheners industry. The category’s leading product is sugarless gum. However, both sugarless and regular gum have been declining since 2010 due to factors such as gum quickly losing its flavor or its tendency to quickly tire out the jaw. Sugarless dropped 16.7% between 2010-14 and is predicted to decline an additional 15% between 2016-20. Meanwhile, sales for mints and breath fresheners are on the rise. Mint sales rose 7.2% and breath fresheners rose 26.4% between 2010 and 2014.
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The top reasons people buy gums/mints/breath fresheners is to freshen their breath and/or remove a bad taste from their mouth. It is for this reason that long lasting flavor is the most desired product attribute—even more so than a recognizable brand or a low price. Focusing on marketing communication methods that convey the strength and longevity of flavor is key to this industry.
Altoids’ ad spending hasn’t been consistent over the last few years, which has led them to be outspent by their major competitors. This has put Altoids at risk of falling more behind in their category.
General Competitive Analysis
There are myriad competitors in the same space as Altoids, both direct and indirect. While on the surface it seems there are a vast array of different brands vying for market share, all of the biggest competitors are helmed by major companies who hold the competitor as a child entity, and many of these brands overlap. While mints have been rising in popularity compared to gum and the trend is predicted to continue, customers purchase mints and gum for the same reason and gum still commands the lion’s share of sales.
The major competitors in this space are Wrigley, held by Mars, Incorporated; Mondelez International, a splinter of Kraft specializing in snacks; the Hershey Company; Perfetti Van Melle; and Ferrero. Indirect competition stems from any other small snack food that can change the taste of the mouth or scent of the breath, which includes most all candies. However, these same companies dominate that market as well and the barrier to entry for new competitors is very high due to the sheer size and power of these corporations. Because of this, the market can be defined as an oligopoly.
Wrigley, the parent company for Altoids, can cause gains for Altoids against Wrigley’s other gum brands to be considered cannibalization of profit. Because of the conflict of interest, this analysis will level more focus against the remaining competitors. Wrigley has sales of $4 billion, while Mars, the parent company for Wrigley, has sales of $33 billion.
Mondelez International is segment of the former Kraft company specializing in snack food. They own many different brands, with the relevant brands being Trident, Dentyne, and Stride. In 2015, Mondelez’s brands in this space pulled in about $280 million. Mondelez’s stock price hovers around $40 per share. Mondelez has sales close to $30 billion and profits around $7 billion.
The Hershey Company produces both Ice Breakers and Breath Savers mints. In 2015, these brands gathered $126 million in sales. Hershey’s average stock price is $100. Hershey has sales over $7 billion and profit of $513 million.
Perfetti Van Melle is an Italian corporation and the largest confectionery manufacturer in the world after Mars and Mondelez. They produce the different flavors of Mentos. In 2015, Mentos sold to the tune of $50 million. Perfetti is privately traded.
Ferrero, better known for its name on Ferrero Rocher chocolates, is another massive Italian confectionery manufacturer that produces Tic Tacs. In 2015, Ferrero’s Tic Tacs grossed $42 million. Ferrero is privately traded.
Lost in the vast world of breath mints, candies, and chewing gum, Altoids has a few top competitors that pose a serious threat to the brand’s place in the specific category of breath mints; these include Tic Tac, Icebreakers, Breathsavers and Listerine Pocketpaks.
Tic Tac boasts a user-friendly website and popular facebook page (over 15 million likes). Their online presence is more active than any competitive brand in the category. Trailing behind Tic Tac is Icebreakers, which also has an active online presence. Icebreaker’s little brother, Breathsavers, does not have a website. Both are owned by Hershey’s and continue to compete with Altoids.
The last of the top direct competitors is Listerine Pocketpaks - a product of Johnson & Johnson. These breath mints have the advantage of being a unique product, but lack the online presence of other competitors. While the Listerine brand is a leader among mouthwashes and has an active online presence, the Pocketpaks fall behind in this category.
In comparison, Altoids do not have their own website, but they have a page on Wrigley’s website. With less than 100,000 likes on the official Altoids Facebook page, active and successful online presence is lacking.
Similar options available to the top competitors in the breath mint category are competitors in the chewing gum category. These brands are made for consumers of a similar mindset, but the product varies slightly. The chewing gum category is another crowded one- similar to the breath mint category, there are easily over 20 competing brands.
Here, the competitive landscape consists of a few top contenders: Orbit, Extra, Wrigley's 5 and Eclipse. This list of leaders is comprised of both regular and sugar free gum options. The most important aspect of this category is that it is completely dominated by Wrigley’s.
Chewing Gum Brands
Position: Ads focus on freshness and puts a modern flare on seizing opportunity. “This is your moment” campaign.
Promotion: A sharp focus on the 18-24 age range allows Orbit to promote its brand online. They are the third largest chewing gum brand and have been built through social media and website popularity.
Price/Product/Distribution: A 3-pack of Orbit gum sells for $2-3. Manufactured through the Wrigley Company, Chicago, IL.
Current Users: Millennials ages 18-24, consumers looking for freshness in their purchases.
Position: Ads focus on storytelling- it’s about “the moment” and the story behind it. The latest advertisement by Extra about “Sarah and Juan” became a viral video.
Promotion: Targeting a more rounded audience, less focused on the younger generation.
Price/Product/Distribution: Also manufactured by the Wrigley Company, Chicago, IL. Extra gum sells for $2-3 for a 3-pack.
Current Users: This older brand consists of a wider variety of users. Closer to the 18-39 age group.
Position: 5 Gum focuses on a futuristic take. Best known for the “stimulate your senses” campaign, which is no longer active.
Promotion: By far, targets a young audience. The use of modern reach through a strong online presence creates an audience of Millennials. Gained reach with the “stimulate your senses” TV advertising campaign.
Price/Product/Distribution: A slightly higher price in comparison to other top brands, 5 gum ranges from $3-4 for a 3-pack. Another Wrigley product, manufactured by the company in Chicago, IL.
Current Users: Current users are predominantly in the 18-24 age range.
Position: “Incredibly fresh breath” entices users with oral benefits- this appeals to a young age group as well. This brand ran into legal issues, claiming that other gum “just masks bad breath. Although the company was sued for false statements, the brand remains tied to the idea that Eclipse produces fresh breath.
Promotion: Brand does not promote as efficiently as other top competitors. While the freshness campaign targets young users, the actual brand sales range a little older.
Price/Product/Distribution: Manufactured by Wrigley Company, Chicago, IL. Average price, similar to other brands, $2-3 for 3-pack.
Current Users: Remain in the 18-39 category.
The fact remains that, although the chewing gum category is monopolized by Wrigley, the breath mint category saves space for Altoids to remain a top competitor. While the brand continues to struggle against big-name competitors, the possibilities for expansion are still available.
Trends Influencing the Industry
Economically, the U.S. is not suffering as it was back in 2008, therefore people spending money on unnecessities hasn’t been an issue on the consumers minds for awhile. Therefore, Altoids’ sales shouldn’t be affected by the current economy as long as the taste, in the mind’s of the consumers, is worth it. African Americans, According to Nielsen’s African American consumer reports for 2016, stated that their income growth rates outpaced those of non-hispanic whites. If we can focus on the flavor and not the cost, it would boost sales of Altoids.
Socially, being active on social media is very popular among our target consumers. However, Altoids in lacking a social and digital presence. This means our media plan most focus heavily on social media and other digital efforts. More specifically, our target audience, African Americans, are easily influenced by social media and media consumptions are high. They are heavily influenced by African American culture such as African American celebrities and entertainment that is based solely on them. Social media wise, they are attracted to their phones, with one of their main reasons (44%) for going on is to show support for favorite companies or brands according to Nielsen’s article “Black Influence goes mainstream in the US.” By using social media, altoids will be able to reach this target audience better.
Additionally, another social trend is to be healthy and aware of what ingredients and chemicals are in the food you are consuming. Over 50% of millennials are concerned about artificial ingredients, sugar content and too many ingredients. When it comes to sweeteners, 59% of millennials are willing to purchase sugarless gum in comparison to 73% who are willing to purchase regular gum, which indicates an aversion to artificial sweeteners. Altoids needs to find a way to continuously position itself as a brand with sugar free options.
Politically and culturally, there are many events occurring that might distract from advertising and sales. Social media and news are filled with stories relating to the upcoming election, as well as other traumatic events. Altoids will need to find a way to create brand awareness online through the chaos.
1. Dig further into the data.
2. Format the section in such a way that you can show the numbers more quickly and aesthetically pleasing as opposed to paragraph form. Use the Snapple plansbook example (in my office) as a guide.
Current Altoids users include both men and women ranging from ages 25-54, with the most usage (20.8%) coming from the 45-54 age group. More women (55.5%) purchase the mint than men (44.5%). They either have some college experience or have earned a bachelor’s degree+ and are currently employed. Their annual household income is at least $50,000, but the most popular HHI is $100,000/year or higher (33.1%). They are medium television and radio users and heavy magazine, outdoor, and internet users.
They are Caucasian, married but without children, and own their own home. The main marketing region is the Pacific (24.5%) with the secondary region being the South East (19.4%). They care about their daily health and hygiene, visit a doctor regularly, and are specifically concerned about body odors (heavy use of oral hygiene and deodorant/scented lotion products).
They value honesty, sincerity, and integrity as well as having freedom in their actions and thoughts. They are hard workers, protective of their family members, maintain long-term commitments and relationships, and self-reliant.
The Altoids target audience is changing in demographics. With a new campaign comes a new strategy--Altoids is now targeting an audience of both male and female African-American consumers ages 18-34 in suburban and rural locations spread evenly across the U.S.
With the little success Altoids has seen in the past in the target range of older consumers, the new target age range will be younger and more diverse. There are several reasons for this change 1) the scope of the audience in this age range is bigger than that of an older demographic 2) A look at the competitor- Icebreakers- shows that their brand has started pursuing a younger market, and their sales have been increasing. There is more information for the reasoning behind location found under the geographical section.
This specific target audience is growing in population, which allows for a target audience that is not only large to begin with, but one where we can expect to see growth in the coming years. The African-American population is steadily increasing- African-American consumers currently make up over 14% of the population. This population is expected to increase from 41.2 million (2012) to 61.8 million by 2060. The current millennial population in the U.S. is made up of consumers age 18-34. This group has surpassed the baby boomers to be the largest living generation, which consists of 75.4 million people in the U.S.
To get a better idea of the target consumer, we’ve created a “day in the life” description of Shirley--our 24 year-old African American female consumer. Shirley is a trendsetter and she is all about fun; much like other African-American consumers in the U.S, she is an influencer when it comes to new products and she is someone who dictates popular culture. Shirley commutes from her suburban apartment to the city for work on a daily basis. Shirley is single with no children, and most of her media consumption is online. While she also reads magazines and watches television in her free time, she is most active on social media platforms and has an active social life in the city with her friends after work and on the weekends. Shirley usually buys mints or gum on her way to or from work with the purpose of keeping her breath fresh when she is at work or socializing with friends. She is a typical breath mint user. The way Icebreakers have recently been changing their advertising strategy will appeal to consumers like Shirley, and that is what Altoids needs to do as well.
Please see detailed Media Mix Analysis, Tables 2-8, located on pg. X. When looking at the data shown in Tables 2-8, we see that Altoids had no media purchases in 2015. Their most recent purchases occurred in 2014, where they focused on consumer magazines and Internet display ads. Our biggest competitors (Ice Breakers, Tic Tac, & Mentos) focus primarily on cable and Net TV ads. The Competitive Spending analysis shows that Ice Breakers outspent the competition in 2015, followed by Tic Tac, and then Mentos. In 2014, Altoids was third in spending behind Ice Breakers and Tic Tac, with Mentos in fourth behind them. Mentos has scaled up spending while Altoids has taken a step back which has lead to Mentos’ SOV surpassing Altoids.
The Index for heavy mint users African Americans, (3+ packages in 7 days) is 124% above average at 224. However, Mentos is the most popular mint among African Americans with an index of 189; Altoids fails to compare at only 115. It’s possible that not advertising at all in 2015 has allowed Mentos to surpass Altoids in regards to the African American target audience. In order to regain our SOV in the category we plan to focus our media plan on internet display ads on mobile devices, while also building a social media presence for Altoids, as 78% of African Americans own a smartphone, and 81% of African American’s are likely to show support for a brand they like via social media. African Americans are also heavy radio users, with 92% of African Americans saying they listen to radio for more than 12 hours each week. Due to the lack of competition in this medium we can employ radio ads during peak listening time, (10AM-3PM) and reach our target audience in a place where no one else is. Television is very popular among our target audience, and although network and cable is cluttered with competition, spot TV is relatively untouched, and due to the geographic positioning of our target we will be using spot TV.
Out of a 2015 survey of Internet users ages 18+ who have purchased Breath Fresheners in the past three months, 30% were from urban areas, 18% from suburban, and 13% from rural. This is just one example of verifiable data that shows urban areas leading sales in the Breath Freshener category.
Additionally, urban consumers are much more likely to purchase in this category to experience a new flavor and less likely to buy the product to freshen breath. For these consumers, Altoids has nothing new and exciting to offer from the very small and relatively static selection. Urban consumers are also more likely to purchase gum over mints, likely because of the continually recurrent flavor options in the gum market.
By contrast, suburban and rural consumers are significantly more likely to purchase products in this category to freshen their breath. They are less interested in chewy textures, which Altoids does not offer, and they are less interested in nutritional benefits or seasonal, unusual, or more subtle flavors, which fits in well with Altoids’ “curiously strong” slogan. Altoids could also make good use of its unique history and packaging to leverage the strong sense of heritage and nostalgia common in rural communities.
Altoids leverages Mars, Inc.'s robust distribution network to ensure that their products saturate the market by stocking a wide variety of discount retailers and convenience stores all over the country (ig. CVS, Walgreens, gas stations, grocery stores, Target, Walmart). The Pacific marketing region leads at 24.5% of Altoids’ current consumers with the South East trailing behind at 19.4%. These are separated by a marginal 5.1% difference, but they are also polar opposites when it comes to physical location.
Likewise, the top 5 DMA market cities for Altoids revenue are 1) New York, NY, 2) Los Angeles, CA, 3) Chicago, IL, 4) San Francisco-Oakland-San Jose, CA, and 5) Philadelphia, PA. Shown in the table below, both CDI and BDI values for each of these five locations are considered high:
DMA Market Cities
New York, NY
Los Angeles, CA
San Fran-Oakland-San Jose, CA
While these are not suburban or rural cities, they are not clustered together in one specific geographical region, meaning current Altoids consumers are scattered across the U.S.
Thus, Altoids must focus its media efforts on suburban and especially rural areas where their sales have potential to grow. Heavy spending will be allocated to these areas but evenly distributed throughout the U.S. in terms of geographical region.
Timing and Seasonality
The Mint, Gum, and Breath Freshener market is primarily based on long-lasting taste, flavor, and user experience. Because of this, the market is not necessarily influenced by certain seasons or times of the year, but more centered around the customer's situations and experiences throughout the year alongside some potential market advantages.
The biggest reason for buying mints, gum, and breath fresheners is the long lasting taste and flavor of a product. Because flavor is so important, there is a strong demand for flavor innovation (54% of users). This sets an opportunity for Altoids to set itself apart from their competitors. 26% of users, according to the Mintel’s data, are interested in the seasonality of flavors. This area opportunity could benefit the campaign by advertising flavors that go along with certain parts of the year or flavors that are only available during certain parts of the year. This could directly affect our media plan by emphasizing flavors certain times of the year and putting more effort and money towards those seasons/ months.
Women’s dieting habits is an additional trend that should be considered. According to Mintel’s, many women turn to gum, mints, and breath fresheners to suppress their appetite. Alongside this, women are more likely to use mints as well. It would be beneficial to focus on the time of year women start dieting--the beginning of the year--as well as focusing on the times of day that they would most likely need a mint. This could affect our media plan by placing ads where women might see them when they would need them the most. Thus--while we plan to spend throughout the entire year--late December, January, and early February will be higher-spending months.
Furthermore, customer experience should also be taken into consideration. Millennials, according to Mintel’s, want products that are going to stimulate them both emotionally and mentally. Twenty three percent of millennial users want a product that will boost a mood while 26% want a product that reduces stress. It might behoove us and Altoids to consider times when our target audience might need a mood boost or have times of high stress (ig. finals week, schooling in general, tax season, holidays). Our planning should focus on media channels that can reach millennials during these times.
In the past, Altoids yearly expenditure was focused on the second half of the year (June through December) with most of the money being spent from September ($2,498,700) and on through December. However, Altoids biggest competitors, such as Icebreakers, have had year round campaigns in which they have spent large amounts of money in all months. If we want to drown out our competitors, we will have to spend money like our competition.
Consumer Decision Process
Altoids has an estimated brand awareness of 35% nationally as well as an estimated 35% brand awareness among the 18-45 age group. Brands such as Ice Breakers are in pursuit of a younger target market (18-34), which greatly contrasts Altoids previous strategy of targeting older consumers. Our new target market has a need for the product. However, many of these potential consumers are still in the awareness and preference stages of the Consumer Decision Process. Research will soon be conducted through in-depth interviews and a survey in order to discover more about consumers’ views on Altoids, as well as the factors that influence their decision to buy our brand.
INSERT/APPLY ALL SURVEY AND IN-DEPTH INTERVIEW DATA
African Americans between the ages of 18-34 are mainly in the awareness stage of the consumer decision making process. They have a need for a breath freshener, however many prefer gum. Much of our target market is aware of our brand, but they are lacking brand preference. They aren’t set on always buying the same brand of breath fresheners or gum. From our research we found that the most important factors that influence a consumer’s decision making process when purchasing gum are taste, long lasting flavor and price.
Our in-depth interview responses showed that very few consumers had strong opinions when it came to Altoids. There wasn’t a strong liking or disliking of the product. However, one individual did state that they saw Altoids for older individuals. Altoids were within everyone’s target price range (2-3$) for breath mints. Ice Breakers are a very popular choice amongst consumers. Tic Tacs were seen as too sweet and candy like. Tic Tac and Ice Breakers were also seen as sugary. Breath Savers and Listerine Pocketpaks were seen as cheap.
78% of African Americans own a smartphone
81% of African American’s are likely to show support for a brand they like via social media
Social media and the Internet have become go-to communications platforms for African-American stories and content (Nielsen, African American Consumers: The Untold Story, p. 2)
African-Americans are widely recognized as avid consumers of all media types, particularly television, music and social media (Nielsen, p. 16)
The 2014-2015 TV broadcast season was transformative for the television industry, with strong results for shows featuring culturally relevant African-American themes and characters. African-American producers such as Lee Daniels, producer of Fox’s Empire and Shonda Rhimes, producer of Grey’s Anatomy and Scandal, as well as executive producer of How to Get Away with Murder were responsible for ABC’s entire Thursday prime time lineup (Nielsen, p. 19)
On a monthly basis African American spend 44% more time watching TV than the rest of the population (Nielsen, p. 18)
91% of all African Americans can be reached by the radio. 31 Million African Americans use radio daily.
+122% agree that mobile advertising provides them with useful information about new products and services
Our competitors have larger advertising budgets + our budget has not been steady in the past
Scope of Campaign
The goal of the campaign will be to boost awareness and increase market share. In a crowded category, it will be the renewed brand that allows Altoids to stand out. Altoids currently lacks a brand personality, so it is important for the campaign to focus on developing a niche marketing and positioning strategy to compete with other top-of-mind brands, like their biggest competitor, Icebreakers. These goals will be reached by increasing ad expenditure to $25 million, and the sales goal will be an increase by 20% in the next year.
To raise brand awareness for Altoids and revive their brand among our target consumers against biggest competitors.
Spot Objective: Boost awareness by reaching 65% of African Americans ages 18-34 on an average of 4 times per month from January to December of 2017.
African Americans watch 42% more traditional television weekly at around 51 hours compared to the total population at an average of 36 hours (African American Consumers Report: Nielsen, pg. 17). TV is the most persuasive medium, and it is the most effective way to create brand awareness. Our ads would primarily run on primetime shows and programs (see chart below), especially those that are geared specifically towards African Americans.
African Americans dominate radio listening and 91% of all African Americans are reached weekly by radio. 31 million African Americans use radio each week, with the most popular times being Monday through Friday, 3PM to 7PM. Urban Adult Contemporary is the #1 format (African American Consumers Report: Nielsen, pg. 22) and 92% of millennial African Americans (ages 18-34) are reached weekly by radio. This makes it a great medium for our advertisements, as ages 18-34 is our target market.
Additionally, radio is the cheapest medium available. This allows us to allocate a smaller portion of our budget and still reach a large portion of our target audience.
Altoids lacks a brand personality, and we feel that this is strongly due to the fact that it has almost no digital presence. We want to run social media accounts for the brand on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and Youtube (some of the top mobile apps for African Americans), as well as promote tweets and posts.
81% of African Americans are likely to show support for a brand they like for social media.
Smartphone penetration is higher among African Americans. 83% of African Americans own a smartphone (compared to total pop. at 78%). They spend almost 44 hours per month on smartphone apps, using 157 app sessions per month for a wide variety of purposes.
Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook Messenger are all heavily used by all income levels. Their desire for immediate social connection is evidenced by the average of about 24 hours per month they spend on all mobile social media apps (African American Consumers Report: Nielsen, pg. 24).
African Americans use the Internet more across many topics, including entertainment, sports, dating, personal advancement and commerce. Black households with incomes between $75,000 and $100,000 are particularly active online (African American Consumers Report: Nielsen, pg. 29).
Media Weighing and Budget
All of our competitors are using television; therefore, we think it’s important to be present on this medium as well to remind our consumers that we are also an option. It is also the most expensive, so we have allocated a higher percentage of our budget for TV.
Radio is an important part of our campaign, as 91% of African Americans are reached by it weekly. We feel this budget is an ample amount considering it is the cheapest medium, and 25% will still buy us a lot of air time.
We want to focus on giving Altoids a strong digital presence--something they have not done in the past.