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How A Toothpaste Maker’s Ubiquity Backfired

By :Sarah A 0 comments
How A Toothpaste Maker’s Ubiquity Backfired

There are some makers of dental care products that are so ubiquitous and long-lasting that they become names people trust largely on sight.

Companies such as Oral-B, Sensodyne and of course, Colgate sell a lot of consumer oral health products primarily on the strength of their brands, with the generally reasonable belief that anything you buy from them will probably help your teeth.

This kind of brand power is fantastic, except when you try to launch a line of frozen ready meals and confuse a lot of people in the process, at least in the test markets where they planned to sell them.

The culprit for what in hindsight was a somewhat questionable decision was George Henry Lesch, at least according to an article in a 1966 edition of Television Age, and a belief that any brand could be expanded into any direction.

In theory, there is no reason why Colgate-Palmolive could not have made a meal offering work, but to do so they would either need to use a brand separate from Colgate or be willing to engage with their existing reputation.

Specifically, they needed to answer the question about whether their frozen foods were intended to help with a healthy dental regime by, for example, being sugar-free or containing ingredients that are good or at least not bad for teeth and dental hygiene.

By not answering the question, customers made their minds up based on the no information they had and immediately associated the Colgate name and red logo with a minty taste that is wonderful on your teeth except when eating a savoury meal.

Contrary to some reports that the Colgate Kitchen Entrees never existed, there are reports of them being test-marketed in parts of the USA although they were never fully released.

The only other food product Colgate have made of any note were Bambeanos, flavoured whole soybeans that sold so badly that it led to a lawsuit between Colgate-Palmolive and their roasting contractor.

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