Can’t a Toothbrush Just Be a Toothbrush?

In their constant effort to out-innovate their competition, toothbrush manufacturers have just gone too far. The bristles of the brush are not just bristles, but “rubber massaging arms” designed to stimulate the gums. The arrangement of the bristles is to maximize the ability of your brushing to get into every nook and cranny of your mouth. Your life is improved because we took the time to arrange these bristles in just such a way. Who’s job is it to come up with this stuff?

Now, don’t get me wrong. I am a big believer in oral hygiene and take it very seriously.

Granted, from a marketing perspective, it is always good to be improving your product, but this has gone too far. Now the handle is “ergonomically” designed to fit your hand better. Now I don’t know about you, but even though I brush three times a day, I don’t spend more than a couple of minutes in this process. Why in the world does the handle need to fit my hand better, when its total daily use is 6 to 8 minutes? Do they really think that a more comfortable handle will make me brush more times, or longer each time? And all these fancy designs mean that now your toothbrush doesn’t fit into the hole of your toothbrush holder. They’ve actually made it less comfortable and more of a hassle.

Now many of you may say, David, is this really a battle worth fighting? Aren’t there more important marketing issues you should be addressing with your blog?

My point is this: Once all of the toothbrush manufacturers jump on the “ergonomic handle” bandwagon, then what choice will I have? I can’t not buy a toothbrush. Somewhere, there needs to be a consumer’s voice that says, quit improving something that doesn’t need improving.

Or, maybe I’m just in that kind of mood.

What are your thoughts?


Being Treated the Right Way

I continue to appreciate the great creative coming from the folks at Ebiquity in their TV ad campaign for Discover Card’s Late Payment Forgiveness. Using the concept of “we treat you like you treat you,” we see various individuals who, like anyone reading this, failed to get a credit card payment off in time to post by the due date. As an alternative to the irritating practice with most credit cards who charge a late fee, raise your APR, and lower your limits, Discover offers forgiveness if you use their “It” card.

What makes this enjoyable to me is the way it’s done, with the customer service person who looks, sounds and talks just like the customer calling in. Here’s an example:

There’s so many messages going on here:

  • First, wouldn’t any one of us prefer talking with a customer service representative who is just like us, who gets us? Duh.
  • Secondly, forgiveness for being a human and making a mistake is always in good taste. We’ve all been on the wrong end of bad customer service.
  • Thirdly, these ads are always good for a laugh.
  • Fourthly, it’s easy to recall these ads and what they’re about – awareness of Discover Card’s new “It” card.
  • Lastly, there is unlimited variations that could be used, keeping the campaign fresh and new for a longer period of time.

As I have said on many occasions, good, solid creative can make the difference in an ad campaign’s success and long-term viability. Good marketing will always win out.

Can you think of other ad campaigns that you’ve enjoyed?

I’d love to hear,