ALEXANDRIA, VA (August 20, 1999) -- It is a rare day when you can write a column about a company without first researching and thinking about the company, its industry, and its competition. Today is not a rare day. Time was spent researching Wrigley (NYSE: WWY), even though the writing about Wrigley will not begin until next week at the earliest. There are many ways that you, as a Fool, can prepare at home.

The first may be the best: visit Wrigley's website. Fascinating is not too strong a word for the site and its content. The Wrigley site provides details about the company's history (it was founded on April 1, 1891 -- April Fool's Day), the history of gum, how gum is made, what gum is made of, what happens when gum gets on your shoe, and -- most useful to Brian -- how to get gum out of your hair.

Wrigley began to trade on the public market in 1919, the same year as Coca-Cola (NYSE: KO). This of course means that, for kicks and then some, we'll determine the relative performance of each stock when I write about Wrigley next. It shouldn't be too difficult to determine which company stepped on the other: Coca-Cola has a market capitalization of $145 billion and Wrigley's is $6.9 billion. The "buy any great brand-name company and all will be groovy" strategy may be true in many cases, but it is certainly true to greatly varying degrees.

If you believe you might be interested in investing in Wrigley for the next few decades (obviously a serious commitment, no less serious than buying a puppy), visit the website and read through it this weekend or next week. It is arranged very well and it doesn't waste words. Most all of it is useful, from the frequently asked questions area, to "The Story of Chewing Gum," to, of course, the financial data. In fact, I spent much of the day reading the website aloud to Brian, because -- few people know this -- he is completely illiterate. (His columns are typed by an overly supportive friend.)

After browsing the Wrigley website, return here and read (or re-read) Brian's most recent (ghost-written) column detailing Wrigley, originally titled, "Chewing on Wrigley." (Yeah, so I stole his title for today's column. Oh, the wit of finance writers.)

Finally, I'm certain that we can all breathe life into the Wrigley message board before our study is finished. Now read, read, read. And if you have gum, chew, chew, chew while you read. If you can't read, like Brian, just chew gum until you get some in your hair -- like Brian.

To close, interesting Johnson & Johnson (NYSE: JNJ) news may have helped the shares move higher. Read about it in Fool News. Also, the FDA gave Aciphex marketing clearance. J&J is involved.