Johnson & Johnson Reaches for Nostalgia
A globe-trotting animated adventure filled with mystery, romance and...toothbrushes? When it comes to Fuel Industries' new online advergame for Johnson & Johnson, it's a "reach" in name only. Designed to showcase the Reach line of dental products, "Mr. Reach: In the Mouth of Mystery" stars the famous icon with the flip-top head who first shilled for the brand in a series of TV spots from the '80s and '90s. "He's lovable and has an evergreen personality—here, we've him thrown into a Hardy Boys-meets-Da Vinci Code situation, which fits him fairly well," laughs director of creative strategy Sean MacPhedran. "You can place him into almost any story and know his personality is going to express that innocent happiness that everyone can identify with from childhood."
The story follows Mr. Reach on a multi-chapter quest to find his missing narrator Jerry, as the round-headed brusher travels from Canada to Europe to the island of Aruba in an attempt to unravel a romantic subplot involving a Parisian noble-woman and a pirate. Each new stage requires players to explore the animated environment and choose the right Reach product to uncover clues—whether it be brushing an ancient statue's stained teeth or pulling a secret lever with a lasso made of floss. "We had a number of dental products to include, and we really had to put our creative muscles to work trying to incorporate them into the game in a realistic fashion," says lead writer Tim Bacon. "Mr. Reach had to be able to interact with each product in a way that made sense to his character and the environment. We didn't want the product to feel tacked on in any way. I'm quite proud of what we managed to accomplish—in all our years of writing scripts for films and television, we've never had a moment where the hero had to use a Clean & Whiten Toothbrush to save the day."