Iconic adverts – and 100 years of Wrigley gum

This winter, Wrigley is celebrating 100 years since landing on our shores and bringing its world famous chewing gum to the UK.

To mark its centenary, Wrigley has been back through its historical archive and is publishing a fascinating series of photos alongside a ‘then and now’ look at the company history.

Here, some of the most famous and iconic adverts and some amazing facts about gum!


Chewing today is more popular than ever and Wrigley has played a huge part in this – more than 90% of gum currently chewed by Brits is made by Wrigley.

Orbit was the first ever sugarfree chewing gum in the UK, launched in 1977, a development that has dramatically changed the landscape of the gum category.

With the success of Extra Ice in 2011, now over 90% of the company’s gum brands in the UK is sugarfree. Extra, Extra Ice and Orbit have the distinction of being accredited by the British Dental Health Foundation as sugarfree gum is beneficial for dental health.

Chewing gum really took off during the Second World War when American GIs living in Britain had Wrigley gum in their ration packs and it started to be seen as a glamorous, luxury item during the era of war-time austerity and rations.

When rationing ended in the early 1950s, gum was one of the products people flocked to buy and since then the UK gum market has not looked back.

Facts to chew on:
  • On average Brits chew about 100 pieces of gum a year, 90% of which is made by Wrigley
  • During the First World War, many soldiers chewed gum in the trenches to keep them focussed
  • Due to shortages in electricity after the war, bicycles were used to generate electricity to keep the Wrigley production line going
  • In one day, the Plymouth factory produces over 3 million packets of chewing gum
  • Chewing gum now comes with a scientific seal of approval as evidence shows chewing sugar free gum regularly helps reduce tooth decay.

‘It’s so exciting to see how far we’ve come since we launched in the UK in 1911, from small beginnings in a single office in London to becoming the UK’s biggest seller of gum. Despite all the political, cultural and technical changes, the core of what we do remains clear: to celebrate simple pleasures to brighten everyone’s day,’ says Hamish Thomson, Wrigley UK General Manager.

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