Launched in the United States in 1969, Tic Tac is one of the market's leading breath mints. The Tic Tac product line is owned by one of the largest confectionary companies in the world, the Ferrero Group, which has 36 operating companies, 15 factories, and almost 20,000 employees worldwide. The Tic Tac line is sold around the world, with dominant markets in Italy, Australia, Ireland, England, France, Germany, South America, and North America.
In 1969, the catchy jingle "Put a Tic Tac in your mouth and get a BANG out of life!" was a huge success for the company. In the 1970s, the tiny white mints were joined by the first line extension of cinnamon-flavored red mints. This was followed closely by the next extension--tangerine-flavored orange mints. The product was repositioned in 1980 as "The 1 1/2 Calorie Breath Mint" so as to fit the growing health craze in the United States, and wintergreen and spearmint flavors were also added to the line. With a strong line of breath mints, the company began to make Tic Tac into an icon with its little flip-top packaging. The product's 25th birthday was celebrated in Times Square (New York) with a cake made with thousands of Tic Tac packages, and a lime flavor was also introduced. Ferraro introduced Tic Tac Bold! mints in the early 2000s, along with mixed fruit flavors.
Tic Tac enjoyed its position as the number one breath mint in the United States. It was around this time that Altoids, the "curiously strong" mints in the metal container from Callard & Bowser-Suchard, overtook Tic Tac for the lead position in the mint marketplace. Other breath mint competitors (Everest, Cool Chews, Icefresh, Blitz, Ice Chips, Cool Blast, Ice Breakers) were also entering the market. All the while, the packaging icon remained consistent. However, in 2008, the Ferrero Group decided to modernize the Tic Tac brand, introducing Tic Tac Chill with new packaging.
The Chill mints are larger than the traditional Tic Tac mint and are the first Tic Tac mint to be completely sugar-free. The mints are sweetened with xylitol, an all-natural sweetener that has proven popular with people following diabetic diets. In introducing the new Chill mint, Tic Tac tapped into two fast-growing product segments in the U.S. mint marketplace--sugar-free and strong flavoring. Both of these products segments have experienced keen interest from consumers. Not only did Tic Tac introduce new flavors--Paradise Mint and Exotic Cherry--and new mint sizing, the Chill mint was introduced in a new package--new packaging that maintained the iconic nature of the original packaging.
Tic Tac Chill mints are available in a dual-use package. The pack is the familiar Tic Tac see-through, flip-top packaging. Yet, it also has a new, wide slide-top opening that enables one-handed access. The target market for Tic Tac Chill is consumers in the 25- to 45-year-old age group. The product is positioned as recognizing that consumers in this age group rarely take the time to just relax or "chill." The product rollout was accompanied by an online campaign in which the first 50,000 visitors to the www.TicTacUSA.com Web site could choose four free downloads from 20 different "chill" songs. The first 1,000 visitors also received the added bonus of free Tic Tac Chill mints. With new flavors and new packaging, the goal is to modernize the brand while giving it a personality.