Dynamic Marketing Communiqué

Small but powerful! How could this tiny product generate massive buzz about its campaign?! [Fridays: Gorillas of Guerrilla Marketing]

January 15, 2021

Once upon a time, there was a gum brand named Extra.

There was nothing special about it.

No one cared about it.

It simply existed.

That all changed one day, when it started creating campaigns that would make people cry, smile, and reflect on their experiences.

One of those campaigns was…

The Story of Sarah and Juan!

Extra is a sugar-free chewing gum brand produced by the Wrigley Company since 1984. It is distributed in North America, Europe, Africa, Australia, and Asia.


Extra’s brand identity varies in different markets, often having completely different flavors, logos, and slogans.

What was the market situation of Extra before it started creating emotional campaigns?

In the early 2000s, the brand started experiencing pervasive and steady declines. What was once the number 1 brand in the chewing gum category, and part of the vibrant pop culture, fell to third place in 2013. Extra wasn’t able to regain its top position in the next few years.

One of its main concerns?

Its ads about “long-lasting” gum flavor were good at informing consumers about the brand, but there was nothing that made consumers desire it.

So… what did Extra do to address this problem?

It sharpened its strategic focus on the power of emotional storytelling to make its brand memorable.

The goal?

To make Extra “more extra” in the eyes of consumers!

“The Big Idea: Sharing”

To give its new positioning a unique and credible foundation, Extra needed to understand more about why sharing truly matters.

The brand worked with several experts like “Happiness Guru” Tal Ben-Shahar, who said:

“One of the best ways to raise levels of happiness is through giving.”

This led to Extra’s new campaign tagline:

“Give Extra, Get Extra.”

The idea behind this was when you give a little extra of yourself, you get so much more in return.

When you share the good things in your life with others, you also experience joy.

Enter Sarah and Juan…

“A girl. A guy. And a stick of gum. See their love story unwrap.”

Conceptualized with the help of advertising agency Energy BBDO, “The Story of Sarah and Juan” starts with a Spanish guy meeting an American girl in a high school hallway.


Their love story is told in a matter of 2 minutes, with viewers seeing glimpses of their relationship blooming over time.


First kiss…


First argument…

Managing a long distance relationship…

One common denominator in all these events?

Viewers see Sarah offering a stick of Extra gum to Juan, who uses the gum wrappers to sketch their precious moments as a couple!

In the climax of their story, Juan sets up a gallery displaying the gum wrappers that show sketches of their first date, first kiss, first snowfall experience as a couple, etc.

As Sarah goes through each drawing, she can’t help but smile as she flashes back to those memorable moments.


They’ve gone through a lot as a couple!


There’s an odd one out among the displayed gum wrappers.

On the last wrapper, Juan is drawn kneeling down on one knee in front of Sarah. This confused her as this event hasn’t happened to them yet.

Lub-dub, lub-dub, lub-dub

Getting a feel of what’s going to happen, Sarah slowly turned around and…

There behind her is Juan, kneeling down on one knee with a ring on one hand.


Realizing that Juan is proposing to her, Sarah says “yes” and the two end up hugging, with big smiles on their faces.

The final frame of the ad shows a box of Extra gum followed by the “Give Extra, Get Extra” campaign tagline.

The video is accompanied by former American Idol contestant Haley Reinhart’s rendition of the song, “Can’t Help Falling In Love.”

Even without the dialogue between Sarah and Juan, Haley’s deep and melodic voice plays a key role in setting the tone and advancing the narrative of the ad.

The video was posted on YouTube and Facebook on October 7, 2015.

Was Extra’s “The Story of Sarah and Juan” Campaign Effective?

Sarah and Juan’s story captured the hearts of many of its viewers and generated massive amounts of social media conversations.

According to Wrigley’s Vice President of Gums and Mints, John Starkey:

“In [my] 20 years in marketing, I’ve never seen the consumer reaction I’ve seen this early with any piece of advertising I’ve been affiliated with.”

Results of Extra’s campaign:

  • The video garnered over 7 million views on YouTube and more than 78 million Facebook views a week after it was launched
  • The “Can’t Help Falling In Love” song cover by Haley Reinhart had 19,000 downloads and debuted at the No. 48 spot on Billboard’s Digital Songs Chart
  • American TV host Ellen Degeneres tweeted about Extra’s campaign to her 53 million Twitter followers during that time
  • People began posting their own gum wrapper sketches on their social media accounts, while some even produced parody videos to Sarah and Juan’s story
  • People tweeted about “The Story of Sarah and Juan” more than 530,000 times
  • The campaign earned a total of over USD 750 million paid media impressions

Then, in December 2015, YouTube viewers voted “The Story of Sarah and Juan” as the Ad of The Year under the “Gives You The Feels” category.

What Extra’s creative team made together with Energy BBDO was an ingenious play on “relatability” and emotional marketing.

Viewers found the campaign adorable and heartwarming not only because they were familiar with the brand, but also because they were able to relate with the ups and downs of the couple’s relationship.

Aside from that, the fact that the Extra gum wasn’t the center of the ad made it much easier to appreciate.

Who would’ve thought that a thin stick of gum could generate such a buzz?

It was part of Sarah and Juan’s story. It was their thing. Their story touched millions of viewers around the world.

What about you? What is that “thing” that you can associate with your brand?

Extra used the importance of sharing. Surely, there’s also a relatable human emotion, experience, or connection that you can incorporate in your marketing campaigns!

Take note that “The Story of Sarah and Juan” is an online campaign, which means Guerrilla Marketing can also be in the form of viral videos.

With a thoughtful, creative, and unexpected video, you and your brand can get the attention of millions of people in just a couple of days!

Be creative and have some fun with using social media from a different angle.

Think outside the box and go ALL OUT!

Remember what Extra said: When you give extra, you also get so much more in return.

About The Dynamic Marketing Communiqué’s
“Friday: Gorillas of Guerrilla Marketing”

Jay Conrad Levinson (1984) said that Guerrilla Marketing “works because it’s simple to appreciate, easy to execute, and inexpensive.”

Guerrilla Marketing is unconventional.

Looking beyond the traditional ways of advertising, marketers, and advertisers need to spice things up in order for their brand to have campaigns that not only make an impact but also stick to their target market’s mind.

Guerrilla Marketing usually aims to have direct contact with consumers.

This type of direct contact should spark an emotional reaction that leads to consumers effectively remembering the brand.

It’s about making a big impression and making that impression last a long time (if not forever).

Guerrilla Marketing can also be inexpensive.

The effect of this is being able to create a buzz around the brand, and the strategy used to market it. Almost everything is passed around through word-of-mouth.

Word-of-mouth is one of the greatest outcomes and it usually doesn’t cost anything.

This is every business’ or brand’s dream!

Every Friday, we publish tips, examples, and other useful content on unconventional ways of marketing and promotion.

Learn more about how to grab your target market’s attention and make an amazing first and lasting impression without having to spend a lot of money.

Businesses don’t really need to spend much for a guerrilla campaign. You do not need a big budget to be successful. You just need creativity and a good imagination.

Hope you’ve found this week’s guerrilla marketing insight interesting and helpful.

Stay tuned for next Friday’s Gorillas of Guerrilla!


Kyle Yu
Head of Marketing
Valens Dynamic Marketing Capabilities
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