LONDON: Marketing campaigns that benefit communities as well as a brand are often a useful way of stepping beyond traditional advertising, and Wrigley's Extra is the latest brand to adopt this approach for a summer campaign in the UK.

The Mars-owned chewing gum brand, which has operated in the UK for more than a century, has launched the Extra Smile Back Project in association with Action for Children.

Starting this week and running until mid-July, Wrigley will make a donation to the charity every time a pack of Extra sugarfree gum is sold in the UK to help fund oral health education to families and children.

Julio Guijarro, Wrigley's Marketing Director for the UK and Ireland, told The Drum that, as a major brand, it is "important to give something back" and that Wrigley would be able to leverage its marketing expertise and reach "to make a real difference".

But, in addition to the altruistic motive, he said it is now "essential" for brands to do more than just create and market products. They should move towards cause-related campaigns because today's consumers have greater expectations about their favourite brands.

"We have a responsibility to do what we can, to make a difference," he said. "Chewing sugarfree gum has been proven to help protect your teeth, so protecting the smiles of children is a cause we can really get behind."

The "smile" theme also features in a new children's book – The Lost Smile, written by Joseph Coelho and Sheena Dempsey – copies of which will be available on a dedicated website with all profits split equally between Action for Children and the Oral Health Foundation.

Wrigley's Extra has also linked up with The Co-operative, the supermarket chain, which will distribute free copies of the book in areas of the country where rates of child tooth decay are particularly high.

According to Wrigley, it expects 10,000 children and 5,000 parents to benefit from the initiative, and Guijarro confirmed that similar cause-related campaigns will form a core part of the company's marketing strategy in the future.

Data sourced from Wrigley’s, The Drum; additional content by Warc staff