Carst and Walker

Did you know Chappies has had a makeover?

Chappies bubblegum is an iconic South African brand, and was no doubt a popular childhood chomp enjoyed by every reader. Do you remember when you could get two-for-a-cent? When instead of a half-cent change, the shop proprietor would give you a Chappies instead? You do? Okay, we’re showing our age, but it’s good to know that Chappies is alive and well, and indeed, has been revamped and relaunched, as Brenda Neall reports.

Chappies ChipmunkCHAPPIES, South Africa’s best-loved bubblegum, has been thoroughly modernised for the first time in fifty years, with brand owner, Cadbury SA, initiating a major consumer relaunch in the past few weeks.

The brand, which was created specifically for the South African market in the late 1940s, has been updated to boost its appeal to the current generation of the country’s children. This is it’s first major overhaul and includes a logo and packaging update, the revitalisation of the Chappies Chipmunk, as well as the introduction of hundreds of new and more contemporary, adventure-themed ‘Did you Know’ questions, printed on the inside of the Chappies wrapper according to brand tradition.

The company behind the brand rejuvenation, from a packaging perspective, is Berge Farrell, the local design company that specialises in iconography and its effective application.

The company was tasked with rejuvenating a pack that officially measures in at one square inch – that’s not a lot of space to play in!

‘The trick to making the biggest possible impact in the smallest possible space is to choose the one part of the pack design that has the potential to create maximum impact, and really focus on that,’ explains Berge Farrell MD, Andrew Nel.

In this case, it was the actual word Chappies – or to be more precise, the font – which has been plumped up and given a more 3D effect. According to Nel, this has the immediate effect of giving the pack more depth and making the product within seem more ‘chewy’, a characteristic which is understandably quite significant for a bubblegum brand.

‘The simple act of adapting the font has effectively given the pack a better subliminal message in terms of product delivery, by giving the gum a better mouthfeel – even before consumers have unwrapped it,’ says Nel.

In order to allow the font to work to its maximum effect, Berge Farrell also decluttered the small pack – widening the traditional school striping system and thereby not only creating a more contemporary look and feel, but also more space.

Last, but certainly not least, the team at Berge Farrell was tasked with giving the 50-year old Chappies Chipmunk a makeover, but nothing too extreme.

Adds Berge Farrell director, Richard Seegers: ‘The biggest challenge we were faced with was that of the rejuvenation of Chappie Chipmunk. It was important to make him look substantially younger than his 50 years so that today’s kids can identify with him, but equally important to ensure that this change wasn’t so revolutionary that we lost sight of the character, and with him years and years of brand equity.’

The end result, a younger Chappie Chipmunk who has discarded his cane and boater in favour of a baseball cap, was the result of a combined effort from Berge Farrell and the Cadbury South Africa internal design team.

‘These may seem like small changes, but Chappies is a big brand and big brands are typically very scared of change. It’s also on a very small piece of real estate, which immediately makes any change more noticeable. Hats off to Cadbury South Africa for having the courage to evolutionise an iconic brand to ensure that it is as well loved by today’s kids as it was by their parents and grandparents before them,’ he adds.

Chappies also has two new flavours – Strawberry and Musk – and has added a touch of innovation to the successful Chappies roll pack, which is seen by the confectionery giant as having huge growth potential: it will feature grooves to allow for easy breaking and sharing. The similarly-renowned bubblegum brand, Wicks, has been incorporated into the Chappies name, bringing Cadbury SA’s bubblegum range under one banner.

‘All of this activity builds on the tremendous success the brand is enjoying – sales grew by over 20% in 2007,’ comments Cadbury group marketing director, Geoff Whyte. ‘This was driven by the introduction last year of two new flavours (Peppermint and Cool Cherry) and a new 200 piece bag.’  
The relaunch is already paying big dividends. Already garnering an envious 80% of the market, since the trade relaunch in February, Chappies’ growth in value has been 30%. Now there’s proof, and some, of the power of marketing and packaging!

Did you know?

  • Chappies has been SA’s best-selling bubblegum for more than 50 years.
  • About 2,5-billion pieces are sold each year, which is more than 7-million pieces sold every day in SA. This is a staggering 80 units/second.
  • About 10 000 tons of Chappies bubblegum is produced each year.
  • One in seven South Africans eats bubblegum every day.
  • Chappies was developed by Arthur Ginsberg of Chapelat Sweets in the 1940s, from which it derived its name, and intended to be the cheapest bubblegum on the market, selling at two pieces/penny. The brand was sold to Cadbury in 1989.
  • Chappies became an alternate currency in SA. Instead of giving customers a half-penny change, shopkeepers issued a piece of Chappies.
  • Chappies has been packaged in the same distinctive yellow wrapper with red and blue stripes since launch. The stripes, chipmunk and logo are synonymous with the brand. 
  • The first set of ‘Did you Know’ questions was formulated by The Three Wise Men, a popular quiz programme on Springbok Radio featuring Eric Rosenthal, Arthur Blexley and Dennis Glauber. The company later approached academics from Wits University to come up with lists of factual questions.

First published in PACKAGiNG & Print Media Magazine, July 2008.

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