Special Report: Media Planning Challenge: What happens after the revolution?: Sampling, online game to promote trial of dental gum

Strategy invited media planners to take a trip into the future where the revolutionary technologies of today have become just another part of the mix.For the past three years, we have invited media planners to develop extensive and detailed media plans...

Strategy invited media planners to take a trip into the future where the revolutionary technologies of today have become just another part of the mix.

For the past three years, we have invited media planners to develop extensive and detailed media plans for invented niche market products and services as a means of demonstrating creative media thinking.

Pizzazz Pizza, Executive Airlines and a value-added service for travellers called Body Guard were the subjects of our challenges in years past.

In a fresh twist on an established theme, this year we asked our media planner participants to picture what the media world will look like in the year 2005.

The objective was to give media people an opportunity to synthesize – and put into concrete form – a lot of the speculating they have already been doing about the fast-approaching new media universe.

We deliberately tried to keep the brief as simple as possible.

We asked them to look into the future – 10 years from now – and imagine what communications vehicles they might use to market a mass market, everyday product.

The product we selected was a tube of toothpaste.

We chose toothpaste because it is a product that will surely be needed even 10 years from now, and because it represents one of those classic mass market products that has depended on mass media to establish an identity and to differentiate itself in people’s minds.

It has also been a captive of traditional retail distribution outlets.

Here was the starting point from which we asked everyone to begin:

Imagine it is the year 2005.

You are the top planning executive responsible for a media/communications program for a toothcare product (known as toothpaste back in 1995).

It is mid-March and your client is beginning to budget for the coming fiscal year.

The client is not expecting to make any hard and fast decisions yet.

You have simply been asked to present an executive summary – a quick sketch, basically – of the communications tools, new and traditional, you are considering using for the coming year with respect to the toothcare product.

Tell us how you imagine this product will be getting its message to consumers 10 years from now.

You have about 750 words.

The report includes submissions from David Cairns and Company, Genesis Media, Initiative Media, Leo Burnett, McKim Media Group, Media Buying Services and Saatchi & Saatchi Advertising.

The report continues to page 35.

Denta Care will launch a new product in 2006 that will revolutionize the toothcare industry.

The product, Denta-Chew, will be available as a stick of gum that is intended to be used immediately after eating.

Denta-Chew is designed to appeal to children and intended to replace conventional toothbrushing.

It will be available in a variety of flavors and strengths to cater to individual needs.

The client’s long-term goal is to develop a similar adult line.

This product is endorsed by the Canadian Dental Association.

Advertising objective

Among consumers, the advertising must generate awareness and excitement among the user group (4-12 year olds) through sampling and fun, interactive communication means.

It must also educate the primary caregiver about the benefits of Denta-Chew in order to instigate purchase and build loyalty.

Among the trade, the advertising must educate toothcare advisors (dentists, hygienists, public health employees) about the benefits of Denta-Chew.

The objective is to generate top-of-mind awareness in order to encourage them to recommend its use among their clients.

The trade will also be used as a means to extend sampling opportunities to the primary user group.

Plan elements include sampling, education/awareness programs, addressable tv, direct mail, an online game, a virtual reality program and community-based events.


¥Co-venture with McDonald’s to sample product through Kids’ McHappy Meal.

¥ Develop a kids’ health and safety program that will tour schools with the Denta-Chew mascot (Molar Mike.) Lunch to be provided by McDonald’s.

¥ Extend program into schools through a frequent reading program. If kids read two books per week, they get a discount at McDonald’s for a McHappy Meal. Local school boards to distribute product through the ‘lunch box’ program.

¥ Dentist offices will be provided with gum dispensers in the form of the Denta-Chew mascot.


Mobile kiosks, designed in the image of Molar Mike, will be set up in mass merchandisers, providing interactive point-of-purchase reminders.

Kiosks will allow parents and children to determine individual dental problem areas.

Recently developed technology will allow parents to determine gum strength required.

Children will insert disposable oral plaque testers (similar to a popsicle stick) in their mouths, then place the tester under an ultra-violet ray. The stick will change color, indicating which gum strength is needed.

Kiosks will be linked to an online service. Parents will identify themselves and their children and will be asked questions regarding their children’s toothcare needs.

Kiosks will register the parent’s name and e-mail address as well as the children’s dental histories.

This information will be used to develop a database for the addressable tv and online direct mail effort.

Addressable TV (ATV)

Based on kiosk responses, television commercials will be tailored to individual household needs.

Orders can be taken directly at the time the commercial appears, or through the online info health/ safety site.

Homes with children aged 4-12 which have not responded to the direct mail effort, or visited a kiosk, will be offered an opportunity to request samples of the product.

Specific television commercials will be directed into dental care professionals’ homes that will educate them about the product benefit of Denta-Chew and tell them where they can order a dispenser for their offices.

A weekly two-hour program will be produced that showcases all Denta-Chew products. One half-hour will be directed towards kids’ health.

Households can order, through their interactive cable system, any portion of the program they wish to view in 15-minute segments.

Breakfast-based programs will be purchased to remind parents to pack the gum for school lunches.

Direct mail

The direct mail portion of this program consists of an online quick access guide to preventive dental care for children.

The guide will allow parents to chart the child’s dental health and determine the type of gum required to meet dental needs.

Molar Mike online game

A fun and educational online game featuring Molar Mike as the hero will be provided to schools with a two-month free trial period.

The game will also be available through local cable systems.

Bonus hours will be credited to individual homes that demonstrate purchase by scanning Denta-Chew’s universal product code into their computers.

Virtual reality program

Develop virtual reality programs for use on dental office headsets that are worn by clients during checkups.

Programs might include a child’s program, with Molar Mike as a plaque crusader, and an educational program for adults.

Community-based event marketing

Community-based events might include co-sponsoring, with Block Parents, Denta-Chew’s educational seminar on kids’ safety; setting up Denta-Chew booths at spring and fall community fairs; sponsoring kids sports teams; and developing a healthy Halloween treat bag, with a percentage of the proceeds being donated to the Children’s Wish Fund.