$13 million campaign
Discus this month launches a $13 million TV campaign from WPP Group's Quantum, Parsippany, N.J. for BreathRx, part of a broader $20 million effort behind the rollout of the line of mouthwashes, toothpastes, tongue scrapers and sprays priced just under $10.
The brand began expanding into chain drugstores late last year and now that it is reaching food stores, distribution is sufficient to support a national ad campaign, said Brendan McLoughlin, VP-general manager of Discus' consumer division. "BreathRx is really our first step in a bigger push to bring super-premium products to mass," said Mr. McLoughlin, who joined the privately held company 18 months ago from Johnson & Johnson's Neutrogena, where he introduced Neutrogena Men.
"If you look at other [health and beauty] categories, like skin care and hair care, there is a super-premium segment that represents probably 15% of the business," he said. "They tend to be problem-solution-oriented and have a professional recommendation component."
Oral care target
Extending that to oral care could make BreathRx part of a $1 billion segment, though he believes that will take many years-and expansions into such areas as gum care, oral sensitivity and dry mouth.
He cited several of Neutrogena's high-end products and Kao Brands' John Frieda lines for frizz and color-specific needs as analogies.
Though dwarfed by Colgate-Palmolive Co., Procter & Gamble Co. and J&J, Mr. McLoughlin said Discus is getting the best bang for its buck by combining 60-second ads on cable with 15-second ads on early-morning network TV. The move comes as high-end whiteners like P&G's Crest Whitestrips, Colgate's Simply White and J&J's Rembrandt have been on the retreat of late. The category declined at double-digit rates in measured outlets in recent years, according to Information Resources Inc.
Tooth whiteners in all channels are likely a $400 million category, well less than the $1 billion once predicted. But Mr. McLoughlin said that leaves retailers hungry for the next big thing.