Sunday, April 17, 2011

It's a fair cop, guv'nor

I like to think of myself as impervious to marketing -- a false pride, because a) I still find myself singing commercials I heard a lot when I was five, and b) it's smart to be receptive to marketing that helps you locate what you want/need.

None of that is strictly relevant to an experience that ripened this morning -- a rare case of a mundane product working its way through to consciousness.
Some weeks ago I started using a new toothbrush that I didn't buy (I think my dentist gave it to me). I noticed immediately that it was different, because the back of it abrades the cheeks -- a pleasant sensation -- and gradually I came to feel that the shape of the bristles gripped the teeth unusually, too -- maybe just a halo effect.  In never-till-now-fully conscious thought processes, I found myself recalling (on many mornings, I think) a New Yorker profile of a successful inventor that ran years ago. It began in a toothbrush aisle, and the inventor (or author?) pointed out that there is tremendous unrecognized designer ingenuity in the toothbrush products, each seeking some incremental edge.  The broader point was that the real breakthrough-holy-grail for an inventor would be to find a way to replace toothbrushing entirely.  But my point here is that some corner of my mind has been musing on the lesser good -- an apparent strong incremental improvement in toothbrushing.

All this bubbled up to consciousness this morning, when my wife happened to be around.  I made her try the brush, and she also liked the effect, and so I actually popped the question: what's the benefit of brushing your cheeks?  So lo, I googled "Colgate brush cheeks" and found a certain Colgate 360 page:
80% of the bacteria in your mouth are not on your teeth

That's why the Colgate 360 toothbrush is designed to give you a whole healthier mouth clean
So I am willing to make some brand manager's morning. I never heard of Colgate 360, but I'm sold (attn Colgate social media monitors...). The right way. How often does a person work back from the product to the marketing?

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