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Gum In Grenades And Burberry Plaid. A Great Idea In Need of Better Branding - Paul Stiven Luxury Chewing Gum.

I love the idea of a luxury chewing gum brand. And there is one. Italian designer and entrepreneur Paul Stiven is the creator and brand name of a Luxury Chewing Gum being touted as an innovative new product in the field of fashion, food, fashion and life-style.

The gum is not about a particular flavor, but about the unusual packaging, which comes wrapped in famous luxury brand and trendy imagery (A Fashion Collection) and packed into hand grenades, bullets and brass knuckles (An Army Collection).

Initially, the Paul Stiven Luxury Chewing Gum gum was packaged in well known luxury branded packaging such as CHANEL, Hermes, Louis Vuitton, Alexander McQueen and Dolce and Gabbana, as shown below:

However, he must have been violating copyright laws because now the gum is packaged in fashion iconography, patterns and colors reminiscent of and alluding to the famous brand labels.

Paul Stiven Luxury Chewing Gum Fashion Collection

Colored and printed tin boxes with interior mirrors:

above: Padlock (a reference to Hermes)

above: Eye See You (this features a Krink-like dripping Double C Chanel logo)

above: Blanc Neve (or Snow White) is supposed to hint at cocaine

Printed boxes emulating Fendi and Burberry checks and plaids respectively:

above: Plot of Chess

above: Tartan

Printed Flip-top containers:

above: Skulls (originally branded as Alexander McQueen)

above: Camouflage

above: Newspaper

Packaged Sets:

above: Five different packages in Luxury Gift Box - LUBA (feminine version)

above: Five different packages in Luxury Gift Box - LUBO (masculine version)

As part of the Fashion Collection, Stiven also offers miniature "Jane" handbags (a knockoff of a Birkin) filled with gum, made of leather in various colors that comes in an orange box - like its real namesake from Hermes:

And now, what seems like it should be an entirely separate concept/website/brand...

Paul Stiven Luxury Chewing Gum Army Collection

In addition to the Fashion Collection, Stiven has an "Army" collection (Paul has served in the Army). This consists of the MK2 hand grenades of various colors filled with gum, AK 47 bullets and Brass Knuckles, both filled with gum. The hook here, apparently, is that the metal used in casting the grenades and bullets is actually taken from the Military.

MK2 Grenades filled with gum in various colors:

AK 47 Bullets Filled With Gum (expected this year):

Body To Body (brass knuckles packaging expected this year):

Stiven's site, which is like three sites in one, also offers milk and dark chocolate versions of the Birkin handbag on a stick, the Lolliciok, and says he'll soon be offering actual leather handbags, but I'm not even going to address those because they are not relevant to the gum.

The chewing gum comes in one flavor (mint-licorice), but it's the unique packaging that will appeal to fashionable chewers.

Not at all a bad idea, but with their oddly disparate items, a poorly designed e-commerce web site (he also needs to replace all the CGI with actual photos), lousy print ads, and terrible product videos, the product's potential is being hurt by the branding.

Their newest ad campaign (just launched this month in various Italian publications) is attempting to be sexy, but is simply confusing and inconsistent and looks like weird ads for slutty lingerie or sex toys. That may be purposeful, but perhaps premature. It might behoove them to first make it clear what the product is if they wish to introduce it internationally.

Some of the inconsistent and confusing ads for the gum:

And although the gum is sold in their online store (smart), you have to register just to browse (dumb). A few of Paul Stiven's Luxury Chewing Gums are offered online and in New York's Maison 24

If only they'd narrow it down to either the Fashion Collection or the Army Collection and hire a good Creative Director and Brand Strategist, they could be a huge success internationally.

Like I said at the beginning of this post, I love the idea of a luxury gum. But with this one, the branding is hurting the product. If there's ever been a client whose communications I'd like to overhaul, this is it.

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