CAMPAIGNS: Product Launch - Dental Dots gives media the finger

Client: Dental Dots (Reseda, CA)

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

launch campaign.





Strategy



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

multi-tiered strategy.



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

origins.





Tactics



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

Series.





Results



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.





Future



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

like Amtrak.



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