Itchy throat, cough, mouth soar, cracked voice sometimes causes nausea making you long for something soothing to relieve the system, and for this, a menthol sweet always comes through. In Nigeria, there are several menthol sweets that can do the job but the most familiar brands are TomTom and Vicks Blue, better known by many as ‘Baba Blue’.
Menthol is gotten from Mentha, a genus of plants in the mint family and is usually synthesized as well as used as a flavouring or fragrance in a variety of products such as toothpaste, mouthwashes, cough drops, cold remedies, lip balms, body balms, and more. Its cooling sensation and healing properties are used to treat plaque or bacteria in the mouth, cough, sore throat, and minor aches and pains.
In addition to fighting bacteria, menthol sweets such as TomTom and Vicks Blue are said to provide a host of other health benefits such as boosting brain functions, relieving indigestion, lessening headache, and relieving cold as well as boosting energy.
TomTom was launched in 1970 and is a product of Cadbury Nigeria Plc. The product has since delivered instant sweet relief combined with a refreshing taste that promotes health and gives fresh breath. It is a strong menthol-flavoured candy that soothes your entire mouth and throat.
Vicks Blue have medicated throat lozenges that provide a menthol taste to your throat and mouth. The product is also popular in Nigeria and is used to provide relief to cold symptoms such as sore throats, cough and catarrh. The menthol-flavoured candy supplies a strong menthol flavour to alleviate symptoms.
Content and price
TomTom sweet is used by many to eliminate bad breath by leaving the mouth fresh. And also, menthol is responsible for relieving pain in the throat caused by the presence of bacteria. TomTom ingredients include sugar, glucose syrup, water, menthol, and flavouring colour
Vicks Blue is a cough drop which soothes and relieves nasal irritation and sore throat while the Vicks lemon and Vicks apple are enriched with vitamin C which strengthens the body’s immune system and major ingredients for Vicks Blue include menthol and peppermint oil that helps provide fast relief to sore throat and associated symptoms.
In terms of price, both could be said to be on the same level as each of the mints – Tomtom or Vicks products – are sold at one for N20 at retail price.
TomTom has maintained a classic black and white stripe since 1970, similar to the zebra crossing. Subsequently, the brand introduced TomTom Honey lemon (with white and yellow stripe) and TomTom Strawberry variants (white and red stripes) into the market. Recently, Cadbury introduced the TomTom Fresh lime (white and lemon green stripes), the latest variant of its iconic TomTom candy brand.
In 2003, Vicks launched the popular Baba Blue campaign after a character known as Baba Blue was developed as a recognizable face of the Vicks Blue range. The advertising campaign across all platforms had consumers begin to refer to Vicks cough drops by the campaign character’s name instead of the actual brand.
While Vicks Blue continues to communicate its long-running “nose and throat go clear kia kia” slogan. The Vicks lemon plus known with the slogan ‘for healthy way, take five a day’ and Vicks apple plus, a new variant was introduced recently in the Nigerian market. The cough drops are packaged in a small pillow-shaped pack that is colour coded to reflect each variant flavour; Blue for Vicks Blue, Yellow for Lemon Plus and Green for Apple Plus.
Tomtom adopts marketing campaigns that include advertisements and special appearances at the brand’s events. In 2019, it signed top Nigerian artistes, Phyno and Teni as its Brand Ambassadors. The contract involves featuring in TomTom’s brand and marketing campaigns, including advertisements and special appearances at the brand’s events.
It also recently unveiled Mani Lapussh as its Tom Tom boy in February this year.
Vicks Blue has utilized various above-the-line and below-the-line media in its advertising campaigns which cover major TV and radio stations, and the deployment of point-of-sale materials such as banners, and posters.
Similar to this, promotional roadshow, market storm, town storm and door-to-door sales are regularly conducted to support major promotion that has paved way for the success of the brand.
Vicks targets consumers in all socio-economic classes offering three variants. The Vicks blue variant targets consumers who need fast relief from throat and nasal and throat irritation, while the Vicks lemon and Vicks apple plus are aimed at consumers who need healthy great tasting candies.
TomTom is also creating value for customers across the board with its variant which customers can choose from. Those seeking fresh breath and a cure for running nose prefer the classic TomTom while the Honeylemon, Strawberry and Fresh lime offer the taste bud an exciting sensory experience respectively.
Both menthol candy provides consumers with solutions for healthy living. Meanwhile, some consumers prefer one to the other because of personal taste experience, and encounters with advertisements and the depth of the menthol-flavoured candy.
A social media poll conducted by Nairametrics shows that 51% prefer TomTom, 37% prefer Vicks Blue and 12% prefer others.