Tic Tags were introduced by the Italian confectioner Ferrero in 1969 first under the straightforward name “Refreshing Mints.” The name was changed a year later to the present “Tic Tac” after the distinctive rattling the mints made inside their plastic container. Despite having introduced a variety of flavors, the two original “Orange” and “Fresh Mint” flavors are still the brand’s flagship flavors to this day. Despite the physical simplicity of the mint (94.5% sugar), the mint’s brand has managed to establish an impressive degree of mass recognition in amongst both US and global consumers. The uniquely rounded, oblong shape is immediately visible through the products clear plastic packaging. A valid concern might be that the mints could be confounded for pills because of the similar forms. Tic Tacs quite effectively (and likely purposely) distinguish themselves with their shorter cylindrical shape that still affords a significant amount tasting surface without having to degenerate to a spherical form. The fairly minimal and iconic rectangular packaging further distinguishes the product and provides a portable form factor. The small, absolute size of the mints themselves enable them to be marketed as “Two hours of Tic Tac freshness in less than two calories” thus appealing to health-conscious consumers despite the sugar density of the mint and the underlying fact that mints are typically consumed in multiplicity. The form factor of the Tic Tac also lends itself to being readily shared. This fact spawned the international slogan “Refreshment to be shared,” thus providing an additional emotional appeal to consumers. Though the packaging features a rigid plastic case, the mints are readily accessible via a living hinge on the top of the case that maintains form even after repeated use. Perhaps, the most original appeal, however, is the physical feel and sound of the rattle the product makes when shaken in hand—almost an immediate physical validation for purchasing the mints.
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