Client: Dental Dots (Reseda, CA)
Client: Dental Dots (Reseda, CA)
PR Team: Brown & Dutch Public Relations (Malibu, CA)
Campaign: ’Got Your Dot’ Product Launch
Time Frame: May to December 1999
Budget: About dollars 95,000
Dental Dots founder and CEO John Stoltzfus believed that the quirky
product his late twin brother had invented - a disposable, dot-sized
fingertip toothbrush - would prove a winner with busy consumers. But
Stoltzfus’ company in the San Fernando Valley - not backed by VC money
or an industry giant like Procter & Gamble - was crippled by a
shoestring promotional budget. Marketing techniques traditionally used
in the oral care/personal hygiene category, such as advertising, event
sponsorships and direct mail sampling, were deemed unrealistic.
Public relations turned out to be the most effective and economical
alternative route to awareness for the tiny toothpaste-soaked pads.
Dental Dots hired Brown & Dutch, a Malibu, CA-based PR firm, to craft a
Realizing Dental Dots had a wide consumer base and that the product
needed to land on the radar of other key audiences - such as retail and
drugstore buyers and potential investors - Brown & Dutch mapped out a
First, the agency planned a creative media relations effort, dubbed ’Got
Your Dot,’ aimed at communicating the product’s benefits to ’anyone on
the go’ - from backpackers to working women to college students. The
pitch positioned Dental Dots as a convenient means of getting fresh
breath and white teeth without remembering to pack a full-size brush and
tube of toothpaste.
The agency aimed a second set of pitches at the drugstore and dental
industry trades to create awareness and interest in the product and
possibly generate retail orders.
Finally, Brown & Dutch also aimed for coverage in the small-business and
entrepreneurial press by pitching the family story behind the product’s
The ’Got Your Dot’ publicity blitz began with a media tour to New York,
where beauty and fashion editors were given a chance to sample the
product first hand. To garner coverage in other mainstream and general
interest publications, such as The New York Times and Family Circle,
Brown & Dutch pitched the dots as useful ’Gizmos for 2000.’ The company
even tied the product to holidays and promoted other timely angles.
Later, to reinforce the demos and follow up on pitches, editors were
mailed a series of teaser postcards that featured characters threatening
to give ’the finger’ to any people with spinach in their teeth or garlic
on their breath.
To nab GenX consumers, Brown & Dutch created the ’Get Lucky Pak,’ which
featured two Dental Dots and a condom, and sent them to talk show hosts
and syndicated cable and radio shows. The firm also gave the ’Paks’ away
at extreme sporting events such as the National In-Line Skate
Media coverage for Dental Dots was vast and varied, ranging from
business features in The New York Times, Los Angeles Times and
Entrepreneur Magazine to product briefs in Women’s Sports & Fitness,
Vogue, Family Circle and American Health. The company also scored hits
in trades such as Drugstore News and Discount Merchandiser.
’We tabulated an advertising equivalency for the coverage and it came
out to more than dollars 500,000 in ad spending - a return-on-investment
of 426%,’ says Alyson Dutch, principal of Brown & Dutch.
More importantly, distribution now includes Long’s, Eckerd, Walgreen’s,
A&P, Horton & Converse, Kinney Drug, Big Y and other chains in the US,
as well as in drugstores in France and Australia.
Dental Dots’ successful PR rollout helped generate funds for a major
advertising campaign, which is crucial in demonstrating to retailers
that the company is committed to supporting its brand with marketing,
according to marketing and sales director Irwin Katz.
’We will continue to use PR but will shift more to advertising for the
next six months for the consistency,’ Katz explains.
Brown & Dutch will continue to pitch Dental Dots to the advertising and
marketing trades, as well as assist the company to establish
cross-promotional relationships with hotels and transportation companies