I had a bit of a sensitive tooth issue few days back. The first thing that came to my mind (also recommended by mom) was “Use Sensodyne”. Sensodyne has become synonymous with sensitive teeth due to its aggressive and focused marketing over the last few years. It has top of the mind recall for this problem. And I may not trust a ‘general’ toothpaste brand like Colgate to treat a specific or niche problem with my teeth.
That got me thinking that Colgate being the market leader in toothpastes, must surely feel the pinch of such dismissal by a lot of customers. Secondary research also supported this.
Today, it’s (Sensodyne) a brand that has a sizable lead over Colgate in the sensitive category. We had first spoken about Sensodyne leading the segment in December last year. The fact that it’s still beating its well entrenched rival seven months down the line is proof that it isn’t a flash in the pan. In May, while Sensodyne had a 26% market share, Colgate Sensitive was trailing with 17%, according to Nielsen figures obtained from industry sources.- Economic Times
Colgate has a considerable marketing challenge on its hands because Sensodyne has been doing everything that should be done- an extensive dentist sampling and outreach program making it the most prescribed sensitive toothpaste brand currently; tie-up with Baskin Robbins to give free samples, sensitivity challenge taken by 5 lakh customers, et al.
Given this scenario, if I were marketing for Colgate Sensitive…
My TG would be:
1. Consumers [if they buy Colgate Sensitive as Over The Counter (OTC) paste]
2. Chemists (since they can influence OTC consumers)
3. Dentists (to build trust for Colgate in this niche and thus enhance prescription)
My marketing objectives:
Communicate presence strongly- Colgate, the market leader in toothpaste category, is very much present in the sensitive toothpaste category too.
(Another objective would be to build trust that Colgate Sensitive is as effective as Sensodyne but I will not be tackling this objective due to lack of supporting data at my disposal)
Sticky marketing ideas
1. Colgate Sensitive Tooth Festival
A festival where all leading food and beverage brands can hold stalls and people can come to have a food fiesta, without worrying about oral health. The thought being- Eat what you want: hot or cold, sweet or sour; Colgate Sensitive is there to protect your teeth. This could also be beneficial for Colgate Toothpastes in general.
2. Chattering Teeth + Ice Bowl Point Of Sale
Take a bucket/ bowl of ice cubes (fake plastic ice cubes could work too). Place few mechanical dentures such that once they are placed in the bucket- some start chattering with a small voice recorder shouting ‘Ouch Ouch’ at regular intervals. The bucket will be branded with Colgate Sensitive branding with the message being- Is cold giving your teeth the jitters? Place this at dentist waiting areas or chemist counters.
3. Holiday food competitions
During Diwali hold Ladoo eating competition or during Christmas make it a cake eating competition at high footfall places. The idea is ‘eat as much sweet food as you want, Colgate Sensitive will prevent tooth sensitivity’. Give out free samples to the audience.
4. Online tooth basketball competition
Create an online basketball game where instead of the round basket you have dentures as basket/hoop and instead of ball, you have to aim and throw ladoos/ pastries/ chocolates/ ice creams/ cold drinks etc through the open dentures. It could be a solo or multiplayer game. Everytime the food goes through, the tooth makes the sound Ouch Ouch. At the end of each level/round the Colgate Sensitive message flashes through.
5. Short term brand ambassador
Sign on Palak from Comedy Nights with Kapil Sharma as brand ambassador since her trademark dialog or sound is ‘ohhhhhh’ (in the commercial she can do the ‘ohhhhh’ and then abruptly stop once the toothpaste is in her hand). She has tremendous popularity and will ensure stickiness and brand recall even after a short intense ad burst. Her ‘ohhhh’ can be used on digital and radio as well alongwith TV.
6. Christmas greeting remixed by sensitive teeth
Do a radio campaign alongwith digital wherein Santa Claus doesn’t say Ho Ho Ho but says Oh Oh Oh because of sensitive teeth. Colgate Sensitive is the answer to his problem.
These were some pure marketing ideas for Colgate Sensitive. Now if Colgate is game and has the budget, then here are some promotion and tie-up ideas that should work well.
7. Tie-up with My Dentist chain of dental clinics
The chain comprises of 100 clinics in 6 Indian cities covering 2 lakh patients and 400 dentists. A tie-up with the chain would help reach out to both consumers and dentists and help gain trust of the dental professionals too.
8. Tie-up with water cooler brands
In partnership with a water cooler brand, install water coolers at dentist clinics (dentists belonging to IDA to start with). It can be branded with Colgate Sensitive branding and free samples placed alongside- with the message : Whatever be the temperature of the water you drink, Colgate Sensitive can take care of your teeth.
9. Free samples with original Colgate
Since it is the market leader, the sample will reach more people and especially people who already use Colgate as a brand.
10. Toothpaste and soft bristle toothbrush combo
The best solution for sensitivity is brushing using a soft bristle toothbrush and a high fluoride toothpaste on a daily basis. So the combination of Colgate Sensitive with Colgate soft bristle toothbrush is a win-win for both products.
These are some ideas for Colgate Sensitive to boost its marketing presence and impact. Do you like them? You think these can make a dent in the top of mind recall for Sensodyne? Would love to hear your take on the same.