GUM that can ensure sexual performance or cure a sore throat – this is the whacky concept third- year graphic design student at Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University Rhett Mullins came up with that secured him a win in the chewing gum category of the 2013 IPSA (Institute of Packaging South Africa) Student Gold Pack Awards at the Wanderers Club in Johannesburg recently.
The annual competition, which is open to any registered tertiary education student, provides students with the opportunity to showcase their skills and creativity in developing packaging solutions and marketing concepts.
Mullins, 21, a former St Andrew's pupil from Grahamstown, came up with a chewing gum concept, termed GUM, targeted exclusively at young males.
"I wanted to create a gimmick, something that would enhance men's confidence and turn any wallflower into a ladies' man.
"Traditionally, chewing gum is marketed as a sweet treat or breath freshener. As it isn't a food product, it's seen as a social habit with no nutritional value. I wanted to create a product that would steer away from these notions," Mullins said.
With the idea of masculinity and value-added chewing gum in mind, Mullins came up with GUM. By using the latest technologies in food product engineering, GUM would enter a market niche by providing added values to its customers. His taurine and guarana-flavoured gum, for example, would consist of ingredients such as vitamin B, caffeine and guarana, to give users an energy boost for endurance during work and play.
Other flavour combinations would include the original "pimpmint" for minty fresh breath, "veteran vitality" for a healthy, balanced and active lifestyle, "medic menthol" for relief of a sore throat, and even "viagra gum" to ensure sexual performance.
The actual gum packaging is also unique in its design. The box, which can hold 20 strips of gum, is rectangular in shape, made out of cardboard, and is opened via a slide mechanism. It could be attached to a key ring and looks similar to the packaging of a condom, to further reinforce the concept of masculinity.
Mullins's concept won him top spot and a cash prize of R1000.