Orbit Furthers Product Development with their “Spotlight Series” Facebook Application

dbrubaker    June 11, 2018

The adage “it’s what’s on the inside that counts,” isn’t always necessarily true with respect to a company’s product development/design. Sometimes, it can be “what’s on the outside” (the packaging) that really “counts” when it comes to a consumer choosing which brand to buy. One company that proves looks really DO matter is Orbit, the makers of a sugar-free chewing gum. Through their Spotlight Series Campaign, customers were invited to submit their own original designs for packaging of the brand. Moreover, this campaign is not the only time the company has stressed the importance of “stylish” brand packaging. In fact, it is a key aspect of Orbit’s product development. Take this Orbit gum commercial as an example.

Orbit brand chewing gum belongs to the company Wrigley, “which is a recognized leader in confections with a wide range of product offerings including gum, mints, hard and chewy candies, lollipops, and chocolate.” Introduced to the U.S. in 2001, the Orbit brand is one of the newer additions to the Wrigley family. The gum is such a cult-favourite among consumers, some even suggest that it “has now become a pop-culture icon.” Considering this popularity, it comes as no surprise that the brand utilized the also trendy social media platform Facebook to create and launch its Orbit Spotlight Series campaign. As mentioned above, the Spotlight Series campaign drew from the creative minds of Orbit’s consumers to design different imaginative packages for the gum. Facebook’s role in the design process involved the distinctive data the social media platform gathered to produce the framework for each customer’s unique packaging.

How Exactly does this Work?

In order to produce a different package for each participant, a Facebook app was created specifically for the campaign, which extracted users’ distinct numerical data from their Facebook timeline. After this data was collected, it was used to generate an artistic piece of work which consumers could then edit to match their own preferences. The Facebook app produced an algorithm that turned people’s information on Facebook into a creative graphic “artwork” to be imaged onto a physical package of gum. However, the process did not end here. Consumers could also download the artwork themselves and use it as a profile image or cover photo on their Facebook page. There was no purchase of product necessary to use/download this app.


The real product development began following the creation of the design. Once consumers had created their original package design and “shared” it on Facebook, others could then vote for which design they wanted to see on real Orbit gum packs in stores. The voting process was quite competitive since every month only five designs were picked for the four different flavours. Interestingly, the Orbit Spotlight Series Facebook application contributed to the competitive nature of the voting process by providing participants with a downloadable “campaign kit” to garner the attention of voters through other social networks such as Twitter. Ultimately, the Spotlight Series campaign served as a clever way for the company to not only generate custom gum package designs for product development, but also provided a way to conduct market research for the company through the collection of consumers’ Facebook data.

Lessons for Others

Perhaps the most important lesson learned from Orbit’s Spotlight Series Facebook application concerns the company’s own recognition that product development does not narrowly deal simply with the commodity inside the package. In Orbit’s case, the packaging of their product (rather than the gum itself) was the vehicle for the company to develop a more personal/customized relationship with their consumers. Although the brand always prided itself on stylish packaging, the implementation of social media through the Spotlight app provided new opportunity for Orbit to create more advanced and unique packaging to entice consumers to buy a product packaged in their own uniquely created designs. Overall, social media served as an effective tool which Orbit utilized to deliver consumers a desired product while simultaneously reflecting each customer’s own personal identity.

Organization: Orbit Gum
Industry: Confectionery Processing
Name of Organization Contact: William Wrigley, Jr., CEO

Authored by: Danielle Brubaker

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