DJ Khaled Teams Up With Mentos Gum for Free Concert Giveaway Challenge: Exclusive

Amy Harris/Invision/AP
DJ Khaled performs at Coachella Music & Arts Festival at the Empire Polo Club on April 16, 2017 in Indio, Calif.

Hip-hop artists have helped pedal everything from soft drinks to sneakers to sports cars. Now, the music is being used to promote the ultimate consumer pastime— chewing gum. Mentos Gum, to be specific.

In a marketing activation it hopes will spread across social media, Mentos parent company Perfetti Van Melle surprised Sam Jeschke, a freshman at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, on Wednesday (Aug. 30) with a truckload of 43,000 canisters of the brand’s fresh mint and spearmint gum—one for each student at the school—and challenged him to give them all away to students and faculty before the first day of school next Wednesday.

If Jeschke completes the job, DJ Khaled will perform a free concert for students at the school’s Kohl Center. The music producer and artist also will be sharing encouragement and news of Jeschke’s progress on his social accounts.

"I'm excited to partner with Mentos Gum on the #SamHasMentosGum campaign with the students of University of Wisconsin,” Khaled tells Billboard. “I'm looking forward to this challenge and most importantly giving the college students a performance of a lifetime with fan love."

Why Khaled? “We wanted a hook for the entire campus to get involved, to have an event that would be fun for the whole college community here—and we felt like DJ was a perfect fit for Mentos,” says Sylvia Buxton, vp of marketing for Perfetti Van Melle North America. “He’s so well-loved, he’s so well-connected, and we have our own ‘connections propositions,’ so we thought he would be a great ambassador for us.”

Mentos marketing for several years has been centered on people connecting by sharing gum. “We recognize that real-world connections, particularly as students are entering a new environment like university or college, is a time of mixed emotions,” Buxton says. “With the enthusiasm of meeting new people there’s potential nervousness. We hope Mentos can help people connect.”

Jeschke recently was selected to be a Mentos ambassador, but he had no idea he would hold the keys to a Khaled concert during his freshman orientation week. If he’s successful in sharing all the gum, he’ll also earn a year’s tuition.  

To broaden the promotion’s scope, Perfetti Van Melle is encouraging other students to suggest ways Jeschke can unload the goods. Those who share a suggestion using the campaign hashtag will be entered in a drawing to win a VIP package to the show, including two tickets to the concert, coach-class airfare for two, hotel accommodations for two nights, ground transportation and cash for meals.

Buxton tells Billboard the promotion may have more surprises in store. “DJ Khaled’s typical shows include guest artists. We don’t know if there will be other others involved, but hopefully there will be another exciting announcement later to come,” she says.