"Clean" ingredients have been big in food marketing, but not so much in toothpaste. Hello is out to change that with a campaign breaking today from its new (since January) agency 72andSunny, greenlighted by its new (since December) VP-Marketing Joshua Nafman.
"An Inconvenient Tooth" is a nearly two-minute long animated film produced out of Hornet and directed by Andy Baker. Perhaps giving a nod to old-school educational cartoons, it follows an adorable talking molar named "Toothy" as he reveals that some toothpastes have synthetic dyes, saccharin, and propylene glycol, which in its industrial grade form is used to de-ice airplanes and in its pharmaceutical form is used to help make toothpaste foam. That's a lot to take in, but the whimsical approach makes it all the more digestible -- and fun.
Hello's products use none of the stuff Toothy dishes about. Some do have fluoride, and in 2015 Hello settled litigation with Crest marketer Procter & Gamble Co. over its former "99% Natural" labeling of fluoride products. With this ad, part of an effort that will play out on Facebook, Instagram YouTube and through various influencers, Hello steered clear of another biting controversy by not highlighting an ingredient in Colgate-Palmolive Co.'s Total toothpaste -- triclosan -- which the Food and Drug Administration is phasing out of soap over safety concerns. A spokeswoman said Hello preferred to concentrate on ingredients found across multiple brands. But the important thing is just talking about ingredients, said Mr. Nafman, citing research showing people think more about what's in their food, beauty and even cleaning supplies than their toothpaste.
A version of this story also appeared on Ad Age's Lowdown.