The Story of Italy's First Chewing Gum, Named for Brooklyn Bridge

A '50s Invention, Made in Milan, Was Called "The Gum of the Bridge"

Brooklyn Chewing Gum, with braggy advertisements such as "People Love Brooklyn," is made, of all places in ... Italy.

Brooklyn, in our hip 21st-century reinvention, boasts our own brand of wine and beer, blogs galore and a clothing line, Brooklyn Industries, that's popular in such places as Cambridge, Mass.

An Italian Favorite, Named After the Brooklyn Bridge

Brooklyn Chewing Gum, which is remarkably hard to find in Brooklyn, NY, has been around for over 60 years. According to company spokespeople, the gum was also called “la gomma del ponte," meaning  "the gum of the bridge."

Curiously, it's made not in southern Italy, which would make sense given the huge migration to New York in the mid-twentieth century of Italians from the impoverished south. It's made ​near Milan

We caught up with the Italian manufacturers of Brooklyn Chewing Gum to ask the whys and wherefores of this curiously retro Brooklyn-branded product.

01 of 07

When was the first Brooklyn Chewing Gum made?

Brooklyn Chewing Gum
Perfetti van Melle

The first Brooklyn chewing gum was produced in the mid-’50s. It was the first chewing gum produced in Italy.

02 of 07

Why was Brooklyn Chewing Gum named "Brooklyn"?

Brooklyn Chewing Gum poster
Courtesy of Perfetti van Melle

It was a creative idea to name it after the famous bridge, the image of which is still  on the pack. The gum was also called “la gomma del ponte” (the gum of the bridge), and it became soon a success, as the product is still very well known by consumers.

03 of 07

Where is it popular in Italy or Europe?

Big Green Stick of Gum
Perfetti van Melle

In Italy. It is sold in Italy only.

04 of 07

What flavors does Brooklyn Chewing Gum come in?

We have the standard sugar based strip in 2 flavors, spearmint and chlorophyll. And a new sugar-free version in stick and in box in 3 flavors (strong mint, fresh mint, juicy red).

Continue to 5 of 7 below.
05 of 07

What does the brand "Brooklyn" mean to you?

 It is a brand that also thanks to some memorable advertising campaigns has become part of the Italian collective memory. It is a brand targeted to young consumers interpreting youth passions, desires and interests. Most famous claims were “People Love Brooklyn”, “Go Brooklyn”, “Brooklyn is magic”, “Brooklyn Freshness to Kiss.”

06 of 07

Do you have any plans to expand into Brooklyn, NY, or do any marketing here?

No, our company markets Mentos Gum in the US as our core brand, and the famous Airheads brand in the candy market.

07 of 07

Exactly where is Brooklyn Chewing Gum made?

As in the mid 50s, Brooklyn is still produced in Lainate, a town close to Milan, in Italy where the company was founded and still has its headquarters.


(Interview conducted 10/2011)

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