Altoids IMC Plan


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Altoids IMC Plan

  1. 1. Altoids – The Curiously Strong Mint i Altoids – The Curiously Strong Mint Promotional IMC Plan Bradford Pretorius – brad.pret@gmail.comRoosevelt University - IMC 472 – Principles of Consumer & Trade Promotions April 17, 2012
  2. 2. Altoids – The Curiously Strong Mint iiTable of ContentsBrand Overview 1Brand Positioning 2Marketing and Communication Strategy 2Strengths / Weaknesses 2Competition 3Target Audience 4Objectives / Strategy 5Campaign Theme & Rationale 6Implementation Plan 7-8Visualization of Tactics 9 - 13Media Support Plan 14Promotional Tactics Activity Graph 15Media Schedule 15Plan Rationale 16References 17Appendices 18 - 22
  3. 3. Altoids – The Curiously Strong Mint 1Brand Overview • Altoids mints are specially formulated peppermint lozenges many times stronger than ordinary mints. (, 2010) • Introduced in 1780 by Smith & Co., they were originally marketed to relieve stomach discomfort in Britain. (, 2010) • The name Altoids was derived from the suffix “oid”, which was popular in medicines at the time such as Benoids, for delicate throats and chests, and Zenoids for digestion. (Morris, 2004) • The brands most prominent achievement was the introduction of the American palate to the extreme mint in 1918. (Tybout, 2001) • Long popular in Europe, extreme mint brands are just beginning to burn tongues in the US, where disposable income and oral care obsession are a match made in heaven. (Sternthal, 2008) • The brand was acquired by Kraft/Phillip Morris in 1993. (Bosman, 2005) • Wrigley of Chicago bought the brand from Kraft for almost $1.5 billion in 2004. Wrigley has since been added to the Mars Company, which was founded in 1932. (Tybout, 2001) • There are currently eight flavors available in the US: Peppermint, Wintergreen, Spearmint, Cinnamon, Ginger, Liquorice, Crème de Menthe and Cool Honey. (, 2010) • ‘Sugar-Free Smalls’, tiny square mints sweetened with sorbitol and sucralose, are also available in Peppermint, Wintergreen, Cinnamon, Simply Mint and Nordic Mint. (Cassell, 2010) • In the 1920s, the brand gained the tin container that they are so well-known for today. Before that, they were sold in cardboard boxes which, one would assume, smelled curiously strong. (, 2010) • The brand enjoys excellent distribution nationally and can be purchase at almost any convenience, grocery and drug store. They are predominantly located at checkout counters. • Altoids advertising messaging has traditionally made use of sarcastic British style humor with messages that seemingly ‘dare’ consumers into trying the product. • This irreverent personality has also spilled over into their online activities through their slapstick ‘Hall of Curiosities’ website and a Facebook page filled with ridiculous wall posts offering fans an escape from the monotony of the real world. • The brand has developed an almost cult like following in Seattle, more than likely due to the large amount of avid coffee and beer drinkers. (Sternthal, 2008) • In recent time the Altoids brand has declined from being number 1 in the breath freshener category in 2007 to number 3 in 2010 and currently has 16.5 % US market share. (Top Breath Freshener Brands, 2007, 2009) (Top Breath Freshener Brands, 2010, 2012) (See Appendix A) • Price: Regular size, $2.29. Minis, $1.69. (Price averaged from 5 retail outlets)
  4. 4. Altoids – The Curiously Strong Mint 2Brand PositioningAltoids current positioning as “The Original Celebrated Curiously Strong Mint” has been used since1995 and their advertising features an odd, yet amusing blend of self-deprecation and conceitedbullying. (Thompson, 2006)Marketing and Communication Strategy (See Appendix B) • Early on, Altoids developed an irreverent and quirky personality which it continues to communicate today. Their marketing is sarcastically abrasive and a dark British humor is very evident in their communications. (Bosman, 2005) • The brand has also really sunk into a position of ‘we’ve been around a long time,’ which is evident in their corporate identity, commercials and packaging which all carry vintage colors, designs and fonts. • In most of their ads, the strength of the mints is played upon in a way that is not particularly alluring, however, claiming that they are not for the fainthearted only seems to up their appeal. (Thompson, 2006) • Altoids pulls in customers through their perceived danger. It causes the viewer to question the validity of the ‘strength’ claim and gives them the urge to disprove it. • Geared towards the man on the move, their advertisements run mostly in bus shelters, train stations and subways.Strengths • History of pioneering distinctive flavors. The Cool Honey flavor was one of the first in the category to capture the emerging trend of herbal, spice and botanical flavor choices. (Cassell, 2010) • Strong online presence dominated by their slapstick ‘Hall of Curiosities’ website. (See Appendix C) • Far stronger taste and flavor than any of their top 5 competitors. • The unique tongue-in-cheek nature of the brand resonates with today’s Generation ‘We-Dont- Care’s’ sarcastic attitude towards brands. • Unique metal tins which stand out and differentiate the brand at POP and are popular amongst creative hobbyists. (Brown, 2006) (See Appendix D) • Benefit from people eating spicier foods and increased ostracizing of smokers and the increased desire to cover up cigarette breath with extra strength mints.Weaknesses • Strong competition from other breath mints and the chewing gum category. (Kruger, 2003) • Size of pack means it is more likely to sit on ones desk rather than being carried around. • Strong taste means people consume them one at a time; a single tin lasts a long time, so their purchase frequency is relatively low compared to other mints and gum. • Large variety of flavors may be seen as confusing. • Located next to their strongest competitors at checkout. • Higher pricing over close competitors may lead to losing the battle of the impulse purchase due to the current state of the economy. • No longer the ‘strongest’ breath mint on the market. • Higher sugar content and calories than other leading brands in the category. • Relatively low shelf presence in retail other than at checkout. Lack of bulk packs in store.
  5. 5. Altoids – The Curiously Strong Mint 3CompetitionAltoids faces huge competition not only from other breath fresheners and mints, but also from the largevariety of gum on the market. Competition is also not only restricted to big national brands such asHershey’s but also from companies like Starbucks who have their own private label mints. Their top 3competitors in the breath freshener market include Tic Tac, Ice Breakers and Breath Savers.Tic Tac • The Product: Small, hard mints first manufactured by the Italian confectioner Ferrero in 1969. There are 8 flavors currently available in the US. (, 2012) • Positioning: In the US their positioning changed from “Conversation Starter” to “Refreshment that needs to be Shared”. (, 2010) • US Market Share: 24%. They are currently the number 1 brand in the breath freshener category. (Top Breath Freshener Brands, 2010, 2012) • Packaging: Unique small transparent plastic box with a flip-action lid. • Distribution: Excellent distribution nationally and can be purchase at almost any convenience, grocery and drug store. They are predominantly located at the checkout counter. • Advantage: Very unique product USP’s namely, their shape, taste and distinct rattling sound. • Price: $1.59 (Price averaged from 5 retail outlets)Ice Breakers (Mints) • The Product: A Sugar-free disc-shaped mint candy currently produced by Hershey’s. 7 flavors are currently available in the US. (, 2012) • Positioning: Positioned as a mint that helps you “Stay Cool”. (, 2012) • US Market Share: 20%. Currently the number 2 brand in the breath freshener category. (Top Breath Freshener Brands, 2010, 2012) • Packaging: Round plastic container with two hinged plastic flaps on top, a larger one labeled “To Share” and a smaller one labeled “Not to Share”. • Distribution: They enjoy excellent distribution in the US due to the distribution power of the Hershey Company. They are predominantly found at checkout counters; however they are more visible in the general candy aisles than their top 3 competitors. • Advantage: Very descriptive name with a deeper double meaning. • Price: $1.99 (Price averaged from 5 retail outlets)Breath Savers • The Product: A brand of circular mints manufactured by The Hershey Company. Introduced in 1973 by the Life Savers Company. 5 flavors are currently available in the US. (, 2012) • Positioning: Positioned as a solution to awkward situations with the line “Lucky You Had Breath Savers”. (, 2012) • US Market Share: 11.3%. Currently the number 4 brand in the breath freshener category. (Top Breath Freshener Brands, 2010, 2012) • Packaging: - A cylindrical paper roll, with twelve mints in each roll. - In a disc-shaped metal tin, sold as “Breath Savers 3 Hour Mints”. • Distribution: Once again they enjoy excellent distribution in the US due to being owned by the sizeable Hershey Company. They are available in individual packs at checkout and larger bulk packs in the general candy aisle. • Advantage: Not only do they freshen breath, but neutralize bad breath with the active ingredient Nutrazin. (, 2012) • Price: $1.99 (Price averaged from 5 retail outlets)
  6. 6. Altoids – The Curiously Strong Mint 4PRIMARY TARGET AUDIENCEDemographics • Men aged 18 to 24. (MRI, Fall 2010) • The majority have attended college. (MRI, Fall 2010) • They predominantly work in sales and office jobs. (MRI, Fall 2010) • Their household income ranges from $20,000 - $49,000. (MRI, Fall 2010) • They have either never married or are currently engaged. (MRI, Fall 2010)Psychographics and Lifestyle • They are urban and single. • They are working and have money for the first time. • They go clubbing and to the movies frequently. • They smoke on occasion and they drink the strongest coffee they can find. • Their refrigerators more often than not are stocked with a six-pack of beer and a slice of pizza. • They are counterculture young individuals who are self-focused and engaged in hedonic activities. • They are at their sexual peak and looking and smelling good is imperative as competition for the ideal partner is fierce. • They like to believe that advertising has no effect on them, and are generally not very brand loyal. • They believe that they don’t conform to trends, however, hypocritically; this in itself is a trend. • They are on-the-go eaters and always have a pack of gum or breath mints in their back pockets.SECONDARY TARGET AUDIENCEDemographics • Women aged between 25 and 34. (MRI, Fall 2010) • The majority have a post graduate education. (MRI, Fall 2010) • They predominantly work in professional and related jobs. (MRI, Fall 2010) • Their household income ranges $60,000 - $149,999. (MRI, Fall 2010) • They are either currently married or engaged. (MRI, Fall 2010)Psychographics and Lifestyle • Young urban working mothers. • They are married however still enjoy innocent flirting. • They believe in looking and smelling good at all times and are trendy and up-to-date with fashion. • They do not socialize as much as they use to, but still believe they have a lot of living to do. • The reasoning behind defining them as a secondary target is based on research that has shown that strong peppermints can lower breast milk supply, which can adversely affect women in the category who are currently pregnant or have young children. • MRI data also indicates a preference towards milder mints, presumably as they don’t have as much to prove as the defined primary target. (MRI, Fall 2010)
  7. 7. Altoids – The Curiously Strong Mint 5OBJECTIVES / STRATEGIESObjectives: • Reinforce brand image/equity • Increase visibility/awareness in a crowded category • Drive retail traffic • Encourage trial • Build brand loyalty • Drive salesStrategies: • Establish a partnership with a brand that compliments the Altoids brand and shares a common primary target and to leverage ‘borrowed’ licensed properties in order to generate hype around the Altoids brand. • Develop a contest leveraging established tie-ins to creatively engage the consumer, drive traffic to the relevant websites in order to establish brand interaction and develop an invaluable database. • Ensure the product reaches the consumer through unexpected/unusual sampling techniques in order to spur positive word-of-mouth, generate trial and increase brand visibility. • Develop creative in-store POS in order creatively showcase the product, dominate attention and generate retail support through driving retail traffic by leveraging the tie- in/partnership. • Develop a premium pack that reinforces the tie-in through the use of unique (licensed property) gifts in order to generate trial and reward the consumer over an extended period of time.
  8. 8. Altoids – The Curiously Strong Mint 6CAMPAIGN THEME AND RATIONALE The Dark Side of the MintCampaign Theme and the Brand • The theme for this promotional plan ‘The Dark Side of the Mint’ both reinforces Altoids’ traditional positioning and further modernizes it in order to resonate with the generation ‘We-Dont-Care’. • It is a perfect fit for Altoids as their positioning and advertising has traditionally used tongue-in-cheek, sarcastic and dark humor. • Throughout history there has always been a bad guy for every good guy, both fictional and real: o Skywalker vs. Vader o Rocky vs. Ivan Drago (The bad Russian from Rocky IV) o Angels vs. Demons o Tic Tacs (and other friendlier mints) vs. Altoids • The goal of the ‘Dark Side of the Mint’ promotional campaign is aimed at further positioning Altoids as the paradoxical or anti-mint.Campaign Theme and the Target • If there is one word that best describes the desired target audience it would be ‘antiestablishmentdogmatist’ (anti-establishment-dogmatist). • While this is an invented word, its complexity and collective meaning perfectly describes who Altoids are and should continue to target. o Anti (opposed to) o Establishment (the existing power structure of society) o Dogmatist (someone who asserts their opinion in an arrogant manner) • As children our target rebelled against their parent’s rules and now as young adults they rebel against and are sarcastic towards the way society prescribes how we should behave. • They also commonly support the underdog and are very vocal about it.Campaign Theme Name Rational • The theme name was carefully chosen as it leverages the popularity of Pink Floyd’s ground-breaking album ‘The Dark Side of the Moon’. • Pink Floyd lyrics traditionally contained anti-establishment themes such as ‘The Wall’ (symbolizes being alienated and distant from something i.e. society, a relationship) and ‘Pigs’ (about politicians who they considered political hypocrites) • Pink Floyd’s unique style of progressive and psychedelic rock also broke the conventional norms of how rock was supposed to sound. Theme Limitations • To avoid excessive controversy the campaign will make use of known fictional characters and steer well clear of executions based on politics, religion, race and gender specific topics.
  9. 9. Altoids – The Curiously Strong Mint 7IMPLEMENTATION PLANTactic 1 Partnership – The Dark Alliance • A partnership will be established with DC Comics. • DC comic book characters, including super-heroes (Superman, Batman etc.) and super- villains (Lex Luther, The Joker etc.) will be licensed for use in the various promotional activities. • The timings of all promotional activities will be concentrated around the launch of DC’s ‘The Man of Steel’ movie tentatively due for release on June 14, 2013. • The theme of all promotional activities will be turning the tables on the good guy, and making the super-villain the focal point for a change. • Heath Ledger (R.I.P) struck a blow for the bad guy with his critically acclaimed portrayal of The Joker in The Dark Knight; the objective is to leverage the idea that the bad guy is often cooler. • This directly ties in with the overarching promotional theme, ‘The Dark Side of the Mint’, and further strengthens Altoids sarcastic personality.Tactic 2 – Contest – It Lives • The contest is based on creativity. • It will make use of the popularity and familiarity of comic book super-heroes, super- hero movies such as the Dark Knight and graphic novels such as The Watchmen. • The contest will require participants to create/invent the ultimate ‘Super-Villain’. • The super-villain’s powers, outfit, name etc. must have some reference/link back to the Altoids brand. • Participants will be required to submit a name and description of their ultimate super- villain, including any supporting materials (illustrations and back-stories), to a promotion specific microsite. • DC comic creators, along with relevant Altoids representatives will shortlist the top 20 super-villains based on potential and relevance. • The public will then be asked to vote for their favorite among the top 20 shortlisted super-villains via the promotional microsite as well as the Altoids and DC Comics Facebook pages. • Prizes: o 1st prize: The creator of the super-villain with the most votes will receive a contract to be involved in the creation of a graphic novel based on their villain. Along with DC writers, artists and Altoids representatives the graphic novel will pit the super- villain against popular DC super-heroes. The outcome (who wins in the end) of the battle of good vs. evil will be decided by everyone involved. The contest winner will also receive royalties based on sales of the graphic novel and be asked to contribute to any future movies developed around their character. o 2nd prize: The creators of the super-villains who made the top 20 shortlist will receive a year’s subscription to 3 DC comics of their choosing, 2 free tickets to all DC based super-hero movies for a year and a year’s supply of Altoids as well as a mention of the Altoids Hall of Fame website. o Other prizes: All participants who submit a character to the contest will receive instant coupons for various Altoids products.
  10. 10. Altoids – The Curiously Strong Mint 8Tactic 3 – Sampling (Guerrilla/Intercepts) – Infecting the Masses • High traffic locations for sampling will be selected. E.g. The Magnificent Mile (Chicago), 5th Avenue (New York), Hollywood Blvd. (LA). • Various licensed, popular ‘super-villains’, including The Joker, Lex Luther and The Scarecrow will be hand out specially designed mini sample packs of Altoids mints. • Various licensed, popular ‘super-heroes’ including Superman, Batman and Wonder Woman will be picketing around the sampling area with signs reading, “Just say no to Altoids” and visuals of Altoids packs with red lines through them. • In addition to samples, coupons will be distributed with a percentage off offer on Altoids products. • Literature relevant to the ongoing contest and other promotional activities as well as product information will also be distributed by the ‘evil’ samplers.Tactic 4: POS (Spectacular) – The Evil In-Store • An in-store spectacular, for both promotion and product housing will be placed in larger retailers. • The display will resemble a giant open Altoids container with selected super-villains placed atop and around the display. • Special effects will be used to draw attention to the display, including: o Audio: The characters will ‘verbally’ encourage consumers to try Altoids in a similar fashion as the Devil’s ‘sales pitch’ for the forbidden fruit in the Garden of Eden. o The character’s eyes will glow. o Smoke will emanate from the display. o Glowing Kryptonite promoting the new flavor and premium pack. • Promotion and brand relevant tear-sheets will also be placed around the display.Tactic 5: Premium (In-Pack) / Continuity Program – Pandora’s Box • To further leverage the DC Comic partnership, limited edition miniature comics will be included in special Altoids tins during the promotional period. • A new flavor will be introduced specifically for the premium packs, Kryptonite, the radioactive material famously known as Superman’s Achilles heel. • The miniature comics will be condensed versions of historic comics containing themes relevant to the promotional campaign. o Superman (vol. 2) #75. The Death of Superman. In which Superman is killed by Doomsday. o Batman #497. The Breaking of the Bat. In which Batman has his back broken by Bane, effectively ending his crime fighting career. o Green Lantern - Justice Society of America (vol. 3) #54. In which the Green Lantern sacrifices himself using his Starheart to destroyed DArken • The limited edition premium packs will be available at both the ‘evil in-store’ POS and at the regular distribution points and the various comics will be introduced sequentially over the promotional period to encourage repeat purchases.
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  16. 16. Altoids – The Curiously Strong Mint 14MEDIA SUPPORT PLANIn addition to the POS and guerrilla sampling activities outlined in the implementation plan, thefollowing media channels will be used to support the promotional campaign. Selection was based onMRI data (see Appendix E) which defines the media and content preferences of the desired target.Magazines (20% of media budget) • Magazines with content related to sports, gaming, current events, mens interests, music and automotive content will be used, including Rolling Stone, Maxim, Sports Illustrated, ESPN Magazine and Time. • Members of the identified target use magazines to supplement their knowledge of topics that they are interested in. Magazines are an ideal way of reaching a specific target and they also have a longer readership than other forms of print media. They also generally have excellent reproduction quality, offer creative flexibility and are highly targetable.Network & Spot Radio (20% of media budget) • Radio was chosen for its ability to maximize audience reach as well as amplify frequency. • Both network & spot radio activities will place emphasis on daytime, evening drive and night- time day parts, as our target is likely to be active and listening at this time. • Stations like top 40 stations will be used as they appeal directly to our target.Online (40% of media budget) • A large portion of the media budget will be allocated to engage consumers online as Internet advertising can be highly targetable and allows for an inexpensive and rapid dissemination of information. • Our desired target is a heavy user of the Internet. They use the Internet for everything from social networking to researching topics and general entertainment. • A promotion specific microsite will be created and serve as portal for the contest and information on other promotional activities. • All banner ads will link through to the microsite. • Supporting online activities will include social media engagement (Facebook, Twitter) and banners ads on target relevant websites including,, and • The role of the social media efforts is to establish meaningful conversations between the brand and the consumer and generate hype around the promotions. • The Altoids, DC Comic and Warner Brothers websites (Production Company for ‘The Man of Steel’ movie) will also be used to drive traffic to the microsite.Cinema / Movie Theatres (20% of media budget) • 30 sec ads will be flighted on the big screen to highlight the promotional campaign. • They will air during movies relevant to the promotion (action, adventure and sci-fi movies). • Posters highlighting the promotional campaign will be placed in movie theatres next to the ‘coming soon’ light-boxes. • Cinemas are being used as the deliver a captive audience and they are very relevant to the overall theme of the promotional campaign.
  17. 17. Altoids – The Curiously Strong Mint 15Promotional Tactics Activity GraphMedia Schedule
  18. 18. Altoids – The Curiously Strong Mint 16PLAN RATIONALEPartnership Rationale • While it may be true that our target no longer reads comics, they more than likely did in their youth, and with the popularity of comic book based Hollywood blockbusters in recent years, a promotional campaign based on a partnership with an iconic comic book brand is both relevant and topical. • Basing the promotional theme on the anti-hero is very relevant as it directly ties in with the sarcastic attitude of our target, who often shouts for the underdog and are looking for something new and out of the ordinary. • The theme is also directly aligned with Altoids current and historical brand image, one of quirk, abrasiveness filled with dark sarcastic humor. • The reasoning behind selecting DC Comics as a partner over Marvel Comics was specifically based on their characters. • While Marvel’s heroes may be perceived as ‘cooler’ and less dated (Thor, Wolverine etc.), DC’s villains are far more recognizable (The Joker, Lex Luther etc.). • Both DC Comics and Altoids will benefit from the partnership. o DC will have extra exposure for their upcoming movie and their various characters will be heavily exposed in retail outlets where they lack a foothold. o Altoids will benefit from an implied endorsement from the licensed characters and hype around the upcoming movie. Tactics Rationale • The use of a contest as a promotional tactic to engage consumers and the prize, a contributor to a graphic novel, were chosen as they encourage our target to leave their mark on history. • There aren’t too many people who can say that they were involved in the creation of something as timeless as famous super-villain. • POP was selected as a tactic as it reaches consumers when they are in a buying mode in close proximity to the product. • While the defined target may not frequent the grocery store to stock up on diapers, broccoli and soy milk, they are forced on occasion to swing by to stock up on beer and salty snacks. • Unique POP displays will also generate excitement among younger children out shopping with their mothers, and while they are not defined as a primary target, the spillover can only be beneficial. • Guerrilla sampling was chosen as a tactic as it too is perfectly aligned with the ‘out of ordinary’ theme of the promotion. A picketing super-hero is definitely not something you see every day, and it is bound to draw attention. • While the target may not be familiar with the manner in which the selected superheroes’ careers ended, they will undoubtedly understand the value of owning a limited edition miniature version of these historical comics which are housed in the premium packs. • Through the use of these promotional tactics, carefully selected media channels and timing which aligns directly with and builds on the hype generated around the launch of the new Superman movie, will ensure that we reach our target at relevant contact points and deliver on the objectives of the promotional campaign.
  19. 19. Altoids – The Curiously Strong Mint (2011). FAQ. Retrieved 2012, from, J. (2005). Altoids brand dilemma: Keeping English image., J. (2006). MAKE A GADGET-CHARGING MINT TIN. Popular Science, 268(3), 76.Cassell, D. (2010). Fresh & Exciting. Candy Industry, RC8-RC9.Gauss, D. (2011). In Peppermint and other Herbs that can decrease breastmilk supply. Retrieved 2012, from, K. (2003). Bold flavors and containers at checkout. Food Packaging, 56 (11), 20.Kruger, R. (2003). Candy at the front lines. (2010). Tic Tac moves from Hello to Refreshment .MRI, Fall 2010. Product: Candy/Sweets/Snacks. Bought/Last 6 Months Altoids.Morris, E. (2004). The Surprising Stories Behind 125 Famous Brand Names. New York: Fireside.Roberts, W. (2004). Market trends category analysis: An air of fresh breath., 1231,113148,00.html.Sternthal, B. (2008). Psychographic Analysis., S. (2006). Wrigley slaps Kraft for shortchanging brands. Advertising Age, 77(15), 3- 67.Top Breath Freshener Brands, 2007. (2009). Market Share Reporter.Top Breath Freshener Brands, 2010. (2012). Market Share Reporter.Tybout, A. (2001). Segmentation and Targeting. Kellogg on Marketing, New York.
  20. 20. Altoids – The Curiously Strong Mint 18Appendix B
  21. 21. Altoids – The Curiously Strong Mint 19Appendix B
  22. 22. Altoids – The Curiously Strong Mint 20Appendix C
  23. 23. Altoids – The Curiously Strong Mint 21Appendix D
  24. 24. Altoids – The Curiously Strong Mint 22Appendix EThe following table contains data on media and content preferences of the defined target: Media Quintile Content Preferences Magazines I Gaming, Sports, Adult Newspapers IV Radio I Music TV (total) IV Music, Sports, Late Night Talk Shows Internet I Gaming, Music, Social Networks, Sport Outdoor IVSource: MRI, Fall 2010. Product: Candy/Sweets/Snacks. Bought/Last 6 Months Altoids.