Would You Pay $10 for Mouthwash?

Discus Dental Rolls Out Deluxe Brand BreathRx Via $13 Million Campaign

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CINCINNATI (AdAge.com) -- Discus dental, the $135 million company that operates Zoom professional whitening centers and earlier this year bought most of Britesmile, is bringing to mass markets a line of specialty oral-care products now sold to dental offices.
Previously sold in dental offices, BreathRx is being moved into retail outlets.
Previously sold in dental offices, BreathRx is being moved into retail outlets.

$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.
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