Mint 'Mojito' Takes Heat

Wrigley says new gum flavor transcends alcohol image

CHICAGO -- Is Wm. Wrigley Jr. Co.'s new mojito-flavored gum a harbinger of Tanqueray-and-Tonic Tic-Tacs, Jack Daniels Jolly Ranchers and Smirnoff Skittles, asked

An alcohol-industry watchdog said it is concerned that the Chicago-based candy company's new Mint Mojito Orbitcurrently being touted in new national adsis using the rum-based cocktail's flavor to appeal to children, and also that it will inspire more egregious imitators, reported the website.

It's something I'd call mildly reprehensible, and it'll almost certainly [image-nocss] lead to others going further, a spokesman for the Marin Institute told It's sad they need to name it like an alcoholic beverage to sell it.

In a statement, a Wrigley spokesperson argued that mojito flavor has transcended alcohol and become a wider phenomenon, used in sauces, salsas, marinades and even scented candles.

He compared the mojito to the pina colada, another cocktail flavor that's found a life outside the bar, used in gum, candy bars and jelly beans by Wrigley rivals Trident, Carefree, Hershey and Jelly Belly (which also offers a margarita flavor). A number of well-respected confectionary products feature flavors that originated with exotic or tropical beverages, but have passed into general use, the spokesperson said. I think the mojito has as well.

He added, however, that there is a practical matter: Breath-freshening Orbit is running out of names for mint-based flavors. The current stable includes bubblemint, winter mint, peppermint, spearmint, cinnamint, sweet mint, citrus mint, raspberry mintand now mint mojitowhich perhaps has a better ring to it than lime-sugar-and-rum mint.

The new spots for Mint Mojito Orbit show a hapless man buried in sand, struggling with a mouthful of seaweed. At the point, Orbit's British mascot, Vanessa, appears to offer gum: Dirty mouth? Clean it up with new Orbit Mint Mojito. Energy BBDO Chief Creative Officer Marty Orzio said neither the tone nor target of the spot differed much from the previous 20 spots the agency has shot for the client since 2001. We're aiming for [an audience in their] early 20s, he told This was never a teen brand.