This question is interesting as it has for purpose to explore the reasons why gums are sold over and over again to so many people while they are definitely not vital to the survival of its consumers. So what makes them so specific a consumer would feel the need (or the want) to buy one ? And is it truly a need, or a want ?
Let’s take a look at the Maslow’s pyramid. Obviously a gum will not feed and will not be necessary to get a good shelter, or even comfort. So we have to go higher on the pyramid and reach the “belonging” level. Now, we are onto something that starts making sense. Not surprisingly, this notion of bond creation within a product is explained by another theory, the one considering the Nohria four basic human drives. As gums are not bought because the customer needs to acquire more and more, or to learn new things (once you tried one, you tried them all), nor to defend himself (or he would really makes huge bubbles), but definitely to bond with other, second human drive.
So, gumming is about bonding. And what is fun in our society, we judge people regarding how we judge the one who are around them. It is the classic “show me your friend, and I will tell you who you are”. So, our human nature pushes IT further. We start thinking that appealing the people you want around you, your friends, will send a clear message to other people, strangers, the way you want the last to perceive it. It is call “creating ourselves a social status”.
How to create a social status ? Clothes, activities, language, goodies. Anything a teenage could kill to have. And that adults will continue to pursue for the same reason but with a bit more maturity (but not always with less eagerness). Creating social status is the reason why people will buy an Audi rather than a Citroën where both brands will bring you anywhere the same way: by car. That is being objective. Not the “same” way, means that you are being subjective, which is pure human behavior: an Audi is so much more than a Citroën, it got a spirit (or whatever). This is being subjective. This is the field of attitude, behavior, human and consumer, products and marketers. This is where gums starts selling.
What is the core of gum brands ? Subjectivity. The gum brands are in fact for the main part, social status providers. They do not sell you a gum. They sell you a service. The one you use to customize your social status the way they propose you too.
Do you take care of you health and you cannot show it ? We have the solution: Freedent White.
Do not you look cool enough ? We got a tip for you: get Hollywood 5.
Not enough fun in your life ? Show them it is wrong: make bubbles, take a Malabar.
That is the point. And that is what matters to customers.