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COLGATE READIES $32 MIL LAUNCH; WHITENING TOOTHPASTE TO BE INTRODUCED IN FEBRUARY 1997

By Published on .

Colgate-Palmolive Co. will invest $32 million in marketing to introduce a toothpaste beginning in February 1997, but it won't be for the much-anticipated Total brand.

The marketer has given the green light to Colgate Baking Soda & Peroxide Whitening toothpaste, a dentifrice at the more cosmetic end of the $1.5 billion category.

"The time is right for this product right now," said Jack Haber, general manager of Colgate U.S. "It puts together the biggest trends we have seen in the category-baking soda and peroxide and whitening-and creates great opportunity."

Colgate Total, formulated with the binding agent gantrez and the antibacterial triclosan as an antiplaque therapeutic toothpaste, still needs U.S. Food & Drug Administration approval, with labeling remaining the sticking point.

Mr. Haber maintains the Colgate whitener is the first of its kind to not only combine the three ingredients but also provide a whitening toothpaste at a less-than-premium price.

That, he believes, will expand the fast-growing whitening segment.

Sales in that segment were up 43.4% for the 12 months ended July 20 according to A.C. Nielsen Co.

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The brand primarily will get TV advertising from Young & Rubicam, New York, for its launch, along with newspaper free-standing inserts, direct mail and aisle trial-size displays. Colgate will also sample dental offices.

The product is aimed at both males and females ages 18 to 34 years old, but since more women are predisposed to buy whiteners than men, marketing will be weighted toward them.

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