Tuesday, March 09, 2010

OraQuel Toothbrush Sterilizer versus VioLight, DenTek and SonicCare UV (ultra violet) Toothbrush Sterilizers

Ten years ago people scoffed at the notion that links existed between oral infection and heart attack or cardiovascular disease. Now everyone from the American Heart Association to the American Dental Association talk about the onset of plaque and tartar buildup leading to childhood gingivitis leading to heart attack later in life as fact. Eighty-four percent of Americans fail to remove plaque and tartar from our teeth while brushing. This leads to unseen and unfelt gingivitis and according to the American Heart Association the arteries in 72% of heart attack victims are blocked by oral plaque; not cholesterol and fat as all the big pharmaceutical companies want you to believe.

So I'm a big fan of products that draw attention to these facts. Back in the 50's and 60's when I was a child we all gathered around the TV on Sunday evenings to watch Bonanza, Disney (with Walt) and the Ed Sullivan Show. We were all told by advertising to get great dental check ups and to prevent cavities with Crest. Then more oral care brands decided they wanted a share of our toothbrushing occasions and decided that we'd brush our teeth to whiten and brighten, freshen our breath, prevent cavities, take care of our gums and eliminate tartar. And that's the way we've been brushing our teeth for the last 30 years. The current category leader, Colgate Total, took the top spot away from Crest long ago by putting all of these category attributes under one umbrella - theirs. So nothing's changed much right?! Wrong!

There's a new battle for oral care supremacy and it all has to do with providing "Heart Smart Oral Care" as touted by OraQuel; the leading brand in the toothbrush sterilizer segment. Toothbrush sterilizers!? Yes don't get me wrong. Apart from killing germs on a toothbrush toothbrush sterilizers are promoting awareness for the need to change our oral care habits and practices. Now most companies do what they can do. If you are an appliance manufacturer then you want to jump into this game with a toothbrush sterilization appliance - but toothbrush sterilization appliances have a lot of drawbacks: 1) the category (sales) action isn't in killing germs, 2) appliances are expensive, 3) appliances are unable to remove solids like toothpaste residue, food, mucus, blood or tartar that rinsing with water leaves behind, 4) and if I remember from my Gillette Hot Foamy Shave Machine Days - people don't want another appliance cluttering hard-to-keep-clean bathroom countertops that collect water and soap scum stains, hair and anything else.

So why is OraQuel different - or better - than the VioLight, Dentek, SonicCare (UV - ultra violet units) and the steam driven Germ Terminator? Well, usage has to be "interactive" to change consumer habits and practices on a large scale. OraQuel isn't an appliance, it's a spray - and when you (especially children) spray OraQuel on a dirty toothbrush it foams to tell you it's working. Kids love to see it work. So children with OraQuel in the house tend to brush their teeth as much as 33% more often and 20% longer. Delivered to the Good Housekeeping Institute in late 2003, OraQuel won the affection of the Good Housekeeping Institute's Director and staff who all took bottles home for their families. OraQuel was tapped as 2004's Best New Product for Product Innovation in Oral Care.

So how does OraQuel protect your heart? Well, by brushing more often and longer, children do a better job removing the plaque and tartar that promotes gingivitis and that heart attack later in life. Appliances don't generate that type of consumer interest, involvement and excitement (interaction). :) Also, and perhaps more importantly, wetting your toothbrush with OraQuel prior to brushing boosts any toothpaste's ability to cut through that film of plaque and tartar that formed on your teeth overnight while you slept (morning mouth), or during the day while you work. So I put my money where my mouth is and bought OraQuel. Beyond removing plaque, tartar and germs that reinfect every time a toothbrush enters your mouth OraQuel is "Heart Smart Oral Care." I like the company's slogan/positioning. No one else targets this territory.

Sunday, March 07, 2010

Germ Terminator Versus OraQuel Pro Oral Health Toothbrush Cleaner

If there's anything I learned during my days working with personal care companies such as Gillette and Oral-B it's that no one wants another "appliance" cluttering hard to keep clean bathroom counter tops. So along comes the Germ Terminator, yet another appliance, that harkens back to the day of those old Gillette Hot Foamy shaving machines. Appliances tend to cost more, and once you put them away because company's coming you forget to get them back out and use them. And no one would want to buy a used toothbrush cleaning appliance at a garage sale.

Now I don't have a problem with the idea of promoting a clean toothbrush. Afterall, we tell our kids to wash their hands several times everyday and those guys over at Purell have made themselves a nifty fortune with their hand sanitizer. But hey! Isn't there a better way to clean your toothbrush. I mean it needs to be done. You wouldn't eat breakfast with a fork or spoon you only licked clean after dinner, right?

OraQuel Pro Oral Health Oxygenating Toothbrush Cleaner is an engaging and interactive easy-to-use spray. What makes OraQuel so engaging and interactive is the fact that it foams when you spray it on a dirty toothbrush. And it won't foam on a clean one. Kids love to watch OraQuel work; and in in-home placement tests children using OraQuel tended to brush their teeth 33% more often and 20% longer. What parent or dentist would argue with that! Which is why The Good Housekeeping Institute tabbed OraQuel "Best New Product 2004" "for Product Innovation in Oral Care."

What's the big hype about all this toothbrush cleaning? Well on the surface (no pun intended) the plaque and tartar layer that builds up on teeth leads to gingivitis now liked to heart attack and coronary disease. Plaque from the infection builds up in arteries starting in childhood and potentially results in heart attack, cardiovascular disease, diabetes, even low birth weight babies later in life. This gingivitis is present in 84% of Americans who can't see or feel it and 72% of blockages in the arteries of heart attack victims is found to be based on oral plaque, not cholesterol or fat.

To this end OraQuel has a couple of advantages or product features going for it. 1) Children with OraQuel in their household brush more often and longer; better removing plaque and tartar to eliminate gingivitis. 2) OraQuel contains the  most effective ingredient against plaque, tartar and gingivitis. So wetting your toothbrush with OraQuel before you brush enables any toothpaste to do a better job breaking through the plaque and tartar barrier constantly forming as a hardening film on your teeth. 3) Because OraQuel is interactive it is easier for children not to forget to use. Children get excited about using OraQuel because they want to see it working on their dirty toothbrush; and they want to see if their toothbrush IS dirty or clean. Consequently, OraQuel is a better product for sanitizing a toothbrush and promoting the better oral care habits dentists and parents applaud. For my money I'd choose OraQuel. It's better "Heart Smart Oral Care."

Monday, March 01, 2010

BrandWash - The Economics of the Marketing Department's Plagiarism

- The Economics of Plagiarism in Marketing

Drawing on 40 years of experience and the fact that I've created the 10 most successful new products in the consumer packaged goods industry I look back in perspective and decide to write a book called BrandWash - The Economics of Plagiarism in Marketing. Now plagiarism isn't allowed in school. They flunk you out. And a great deal of time is spent on plagiarising business plans in business ethics courses so I began wondering (and here is where I'd like your feedback) why is it so that I can't find a detergent brand that doesn't promise to do the cleaning job better and faster; why can't I find an air freshener from Glade to Fabreeze that doesn't promise to make my house smell sweet; why can't I find an orange juice brand that doesn't have that blasted straw stinking out of an orange or a hand reaching from field to grocer's shelf that doesn't promise to taste most like the orange; why does every Leo Burnett ad seem almost the same; why does every shampoo and conditioner promise women model perfect hair; what analgesic doesn't promise to relieve pain better and faster and so on and so on. You see, I've worked in all these categories, and did so successfully, because we were able to give each category's founding member a highly-differentiating, highly-consumer-desired and highly-differentiating "product based" reason for being - like Claritin's CLEAR DAY. It's kept every other rival at bay for decades and it accounts for 67% of Schering-Plough's profits. ADVERTISING & MARKETING STRATEGY FOR IDIOTS! At one time all ground roast coffee from Maxwell House to Chock Full 'O Nuts that heavenly coffee promised consumers rich taste and aroma completely missing the reason why 20% of the GRC audience (heavy users) account for 85% of category volume. It's not flavor and aroma. IT'S STIMULATION. The best part of waking up is caffiene in your cup. But we couldn't sell a drug so we had to substitute the word Folgers for caffiene and hope it would work. I guess taking a $300 million brand to $1.6 billion on 1/10th the budget of Mrs. Olsen's Mountain Grown did the trick. Differentiated the brand. So Folgers took and sustained a 37 to 14 share lead over Maxwell House overnight. And Maxwell House IS STILL talking about flavor and aroma. Come on BL! Wake up! Hello, is anybody home? No wonder 87% of 6,973 CEOs in an exclusive Boston Consulting Group poll said they were disappointed in their innovation return on investment. There is no innovation. Too much strategic plagiarism going on in just about every conceivable category by marketers who are unable to meaningfully differentiate a brand or product. And just to back that up; Al Ries, Partner of Jack Trout (remember Trout & Ries? The guys who wrote POSITIONING: THE BATTLE FOR YOUR MIND says marketers walked away from positioning their brands on product based dimensions decades ago. Not even Al Ries (father of Laura Ries if you subscribe to her blog (recommended) Ries' Pieces) thinks he can reignite the olympic positioning torch! Today's marketers don't know what they've lost, and it's gone. Grew up knowing who lived in a pineapple under the sea but couldn't say who lived at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue. Oh well, they got bigger fish to fry like tagging the next social media opportunity hoping if they throw enough "creative" against the glass some of it might stick. That's not creative. But it is a reason nearly 7,000 CEOs in a recent Advertising Age Poll opted in that ad agencies had become commodities. Yet CMOs continue to do today what they did yesterday so they can keep on doing it tomorrow. AND THAT'S THE ECONOMICS OF PLAGIARISM IN MARKETING. Companies like McDonald's, Procter & Gamble, Unilever and Kraft all lose more money than they make each year and companies like Coke, because they can't generate big ideas in house outsource new products to Mergers & Acquisitions who overpay for brands like Vitamin Water without a chance of ever recovering their $4+ billion investment.