P&G PUTS $20 MIL IN ADS BEHIND NEW TOOTHBRUSH;CREST DEEP SWEEP IS PART OF LEADER'S REBOUND EFFORT

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Procter & Gamble Co. is trying to polish its act in oral care through a series of new products, beginning with the introduction of Crest Deep Sweep toothbrushes.

Deep Sweep will be supported with $20 million in print and TV advertising from Leo Burnett USA, Chicago, and will be touted in some additional Crest marketing efforts valued at an estimated $10 million.

NOT `THE' MAJOR STEP

Deep Sweep is "a first but small step toward righting their oral-care business, but not the major one we're looking for," said PaineWebber analyst Andrew Shore, referring to the company's long-awaited new toothpaste to compete against Colgate-Palmolive Co.'s coming Total launch and also to correct a previous marketing misstep.

That blunder was the 1995 launch of the disappointing Crest Gum Care in lieu of a baking soda/peroxide toothpaste (AA, Aug. 5).

P&G was expected to introduce a new toothpaste this fall but that is now said to have been pushed back until early 1997.

P&G TAKES A BRUISING

In both the $1.5 billion tooth-paste and $519.6 million tooth-brush categories, P&G is being bruised by competitors from Colgate to Gillette Co.'s Oral-B.

For the 52 weeks ended June 30, Crest's market-leading share of the toothpaste business was 28.4%, down from 29.7% a year earlier and 34.8% in 1992, according to Information Resources Inc. Colgate managed a slight increase for an 18.8% share while Chesebrough-Pond's Mentadent was off fractionally to 11.8%.

In toothbrushes, Crest saw an even more dramatic drop. Share fell from to 11.3% for the 52 weeks ended June 30, from 14.2% the previous period, while Oral-B went from 22% to 24.7% and the new Mentadent brush grabbed a 5% share.

DEEP SWEEP TAKES PREMIUM SLOT

Earlier this summer, P&G began simplifying the name of its Crest Complete toothbrushes to just Crest. Crest Deep Sweep will now become the premium-price entry in the line, with an expected average retail price of $2.49 compared to $2.25 for Crest.

In presentations to retailers, P&G is favorably comparing the brush to Mentadent.

The brush, designed to clean plaque from between teeth and along the gumline, features rippled bristles for better penetration between teeth, a rubber grip handle and a mix of short and long bristles with round ends for safer brushing.

Couponing will include an October introductory drop with a coupon valued at just under $1.

ARM & HAMMER ADDS 3

In toothpastes, Church & Dwight Co. is adding three new products to its Arm & Hammer lineup: Extra Whitening, Sensitive and Smooth Spearmint.

The company will spend an estimated $13 million through January on toothpaste advertising via Partners & Shevack, New York, and promote the products with more than 200 million consumer coupons and sampling in dental offices.

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