BriteSmile: Mike Whan

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As former brand manager for Procter & Gamble Co.'s Crest, Mike Whan knew something about whitening teeth. So when a recruiter for BriteSmile centers told him they could deliver eight shades of whitening in an hour, he wanted to see the clinical data. "I didn't think it was physically possible," he says. If true, he thought, "If you can't sell this, there's something wrong."

Mr. Whan, 36, ended up leaving his job as general manager at Taylor Made Golf to become president-worldwide marketing for BriteSmile early last spring as the company was expanding nationally from California. BriteSmile, which charges $500-$600 for whitening sessions through its own centers and affiliated dentists, has seen sales grow to $22 million through the first half of 2001, triple the revenue from the same six-month period in 2000.

Helping get the point across are long-form ads including live radio disc jockey endorsements; direct response TV from Mayhew-Breen Productions, New York, with media buying by Cmedia, Portland, Ore.; and newspaper and dental journal ads from Barefoot Advertising, Cincinnati.

"We really felt we had to tell the whole story," Mr. Whan says.

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