Melodrama in the Toothpaste Aisle

Editorial
by Jim Du Molin

You’ll remember that last week we surveyed dentists on the importance of toothpaste and whether it really matters which brand of toothpaste you use. Two out of three dentists agreed that, thanks to modern technology, not all toothpaste brands are equal. However, they didn’t seem to agree on which brands are best or which ingredients (besides fluoride, a debate unto itself) are most important.

Some dentists questioned whether toothpaste was even necessary, arguing that the friction of the toothbrush was far more significant. One dentist even reported having good results with patients who brush with Ivory soap. (Doing that would make me feel like a dirty-mouthed child being punished!)

“Cola Wars” Part II: The Battle Over Toothpaste

Toothpaste has been on my mind lately, even more so since I read about the advertising feud between Crest and Colgate. The National Advertising Division (NAD) of the Council of Better Business Bureaus officially recommended that Procter & Gamble stop making claims that suggest its Crest Pro-Health toothpaste is recommended by dentists.

The back-story? Colgate has been losing market share to Crest lately (even though, to be honest, Colgate was the brand most mentioned by dentists in our Wealthy Dentist survey). Colgate responded by challenging a number of Crest’s advertising claims.

The NAD sided with Colgate on a number of points, writing, “The concept of a dentist recommending the results or ‘benefits’ themselves… is counterintuitive. Patients do not need dentists telling them that they do not want plaque-covered teeth or foul-smelling breath.”

Colgate itself is still reeling from being warned earlier this year by the UK’s Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) to stop claiming that four out five dentists recommend its brand.

In Colgate’s annual poll of dentists, respondents are asked which toothpastes they would recommend from a list of major brands. Just over 80% selected Colgate, more than any other brand. However, the difference between Colgate and Crest was only a few percentage points. The ASA determined Colgate’s “4 out of 5 dentists” claim to be misleading to consumers.

Jim Du Molin

About Jim Du Molin

+Jim Du Molin is a leading Internet marketing expert for dentists in North America. He has helped hundreds of doctors make more money in their practices using his proven Internet marketing techniques.

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