photo of 5 Gum package design

Wrigley’s 5 Gum


This project was completed by 4sight inc. Now part of Product Ventures.


In the mid-2000s, Wrigley had consistently held the majority of market share for the chewing gum category but the market was rapidly changing. Competitors within the gum category had developed new blister pack packaging that consumers were beginning to prefer over Wrigley’s classic stick gum. Wrigley reached out to our team to redesign their original stick gum packaging and make it compete with new trends.

At the time of this project, Wrigley had established an incredibly efficient manufacturing line for producing stick gum. Our team toured one of Wrigley’s manufacturing plants and saw the speed and efficiency of their production was paramount to their competitive edge within the category. This meant whatever innovation our team designed for stick gum needed to work with Wrigley’s long-established manufacturing assets.


Wrigley provided market data that indicated consumers were not purchasing traditional stick gum compared to other new options within the gum category. However, insights data revealed consumers reliably preferred the experience of stick gum for reasons such as flavor, chewing experience, mouth feel, etc.

Our team’s own consumer insights research uncovered consumers didn’t like multiple things about hard-shell gum such as the chewing experience, less overall gum product, and less flavor. These insights suggested consumers were not leaving stick gum in favor of hard-shell gum product, but rather in favor of the packaging experience that came with hard-shell gum.

The reason for this preference became the breakthrough insight for this project. Consumers saw gum as more than a confection, but rather an extension of the owner’s social status. Offering a wrinkled foil of gum reflected poorly on the individual. This social judgment relied heavily on the packaging design.


Discovering the breakthrough for this project relied heavily on our holistic design process’ use of consumer insights. Product Ventures’ interdisciplinary team includes qualitative researchers who specialize in consumer insights. For any project that requires consumer insights, we immerse research respondents in the environment where they typically use the product in question.

For this project, our research revealed gum is usually used in a social environment. Taking out a pack of gum will usually elicit a social response — such as asking to share the gum with others. This meant the presentation of the packaging was critical to a consumer’s relationship with the product.

Prior to this package redesign, Wrigley’s gum was packaged in a plenty pack – an  accordion-shaped paper wrapper. This packaging was a significant pain point for consumers because the wrapper was a point of anxiety in a social context. Taking out a pack of gum that was wrinkled, disheveled, or unwrapped created a negative social impression on the owner of the gum. Consumers preferred hard-shell gum because the blister pack was more reliably presentable in a social context. This was a critical insight that became the catalyst for the direction of our team’s design.

The new design needed to be orderly and pristine. Our team of industrial designers conducted an audit of products that provided a similar social benefit. For example, flip phones provided a similar social benefit when revealing the package among groups. This example – and others – served as inspiration for a redesign paper package box that flipped open and accentuated the presentation of the gum packaging.

Paper packaging can create a consumer concern about the security of the product since paper is not typically viewed as “secured.” Our team resolved this concern through the design of a “hook” that fastened the gum product within the packaging after being opened. This design retained the presentability of the product and kept the gum secured across uses.

The final piece of the design’s success was its ability to be manufactured at scale. Wrigley’s original line was optimized for a single stack of 15 pieces of gum stacked on top of one another. The new packaging design required 5 pieces of gum across 3 stacks. This innovation was accomplished within the existing capital assets of Wrigley. This one innovation enabled the design and revolutionized the gum category with new packaging that added value to the product while providing a premium experience to consumers.


Wrigley originally intended for this package design to apply to their legacy brand of gum, but after seeing our team’s design they chose to launch a new brand called 5 Gum. In addition to new packaging, 5 Gum had new flavors and an advertising campaign emphasizing the premium experience of the product.

The packaging and consumer experienced justified a new price point and 5 Gum debuted at $3.99 — providing higher margins across all Wrigley stick gum brands. The new design was more effective at merchandising thanks to more prominent billboarding. Retailers — who previously refused price increases to 99 cent gum — later requested the packaging be used for other Wrigley gum brands to reap these additional benefits. 5 Gum later settled to a price of $2.29 per pack and sustained popularity even as competitive threats emerged.

The 5 Gum brand launch was a success and represented a substantially higher profit margin. Wrigley’s annual report referred to 5 Gum and its packaging innovation as a key reason for the company’s dominance in the gum and mints category within the United States.

Want to hear more specifics about our process for this project?