Orbit Made an Ugly 'Smooching Sweater' for the Holidays
A few months back, Mars-owned Extra Gum envisioned a post-pandemic world of non-stop smooches, hugs and rolls in the grass, asserting that mouths oozing minty freshness would be primed for such face-to-face togetherness.
Alas, with Covid still around, we're not living in a spit-swapping Xanadu quite yet. But the pandemic's impact has diminished, and many folks continue their return to something approaching normalcy as the holidays begin.
Against that backdrop, another Mars brand, Orbit Gum, worked with agency ICF Next to knit the fresh-breath message into blue-and-silver, peppermint-scented "Smooching Sweaters." Each of these fashion atrocities comes with a gum dispenser, festive string lights and sprigs of mistletoe.
"We hope to deliver better moments and more smiles to our fans this holiday season as we know so many people weren't able to celebrate in person last year," says senior brand manager Sally Tran. "As we're gradually returning safely to more traditional in-person holiday gatherings, we wanted to create an item that not only gets people in the spirit, but also helps them feel bold and confident in an unexpected way."
She describes the item as "a playful and functional twist on the popular ugly holiday sweaters that are often worn this time of year. We wanted the sweater's turnkey gum dispenser to help fans have confidence and fresh breath during those close encounters under the mistletoe."
You can't buy these sweaters—and honestly, who'd want to? But you can visit this site through Nov. 30 for a chance to win one. Copy claims the sweater can help you "Get your ding back," a reference to the familiar chime heard in Orbit ads (the one that accompanies the sparkly teeth, remember?)
Intriguingly, we just saw a yuletide offering from Amazon that's all about with easing apprehension as society reopens. Here, Orbit embraces an anxiety of old—but who wouldn't want to live in a world where bad breath was all people have to worry about?
Of course, self-consciously "ugly" seasonal sweaters are a marketing mainstay, with newspapers, retailers, fast-feeders and dog-food makers among the many brands decking the halls withs such fare in recent years. KFC just tweaked the trope, offering a sweater-style "chicken-bucket hugger" with built-in mittens.