Ananya Pathak

Sensodyne pivots to colourful, sensorial food shots...

Sensodyne's new campaign makes no mention of 'jhanjhanahat', doctors in white coats or the wincing face.

What is the first word that comes to your mind when someone says 'sensitivity'? Is it also the first word that springs to mind when you see a wincing face? As I go around asking these questions to colleagues, a handful respond with 'Sensodyne'. Not surprising! I guess more would have followed had I thrown a trail of words like 'white coat', 'dentists', 'jhanjhanahat' at them. And why wouldn't they? Any communication from this GlaxoSmithKline owned brand has always had these elements in common.

And that's why, a smiling face and no recommendation to use the brand's toothpaste or the mouthwash by an authorised doctor in the 60 year old brand's communication, is sure to amuse many. That is also why the UK headquartered brand's recent campaign caught our attention.

In none of the four, almost-minute long films can you spot an ounce of pain or discomfort. The consumer in us that automatically starts expecting a wincing face tagged 'daanto me jhanjhanahat...' towards the end of the films, is greeted with a 'Pepsodent wali smile', unlike all previous communication by the brand.

So, what led to this shift in communication? Anurita Chopra, Area Marketing Lead, Oral Care, GSK Consumer Healthcare, tells us, “The campaign - #ForTheLoveOf is designed to connect with people who hold back from enjoying their favourite foods, and therefore, compromise. It would be great to see them relate to Sensodyne as an enabler of a richer, more fulfilling everyday life.”

Anurita Chopra
Anurita Chopra

She adds that the brand will continue to build awareness around tooth sensitivity through the dentist testimonials which are rooted in identifying the problem and recommending the science-based Sensodyne.

She shares that the target audience is people who are needlessly giving up things they enjoy the most...that piping hot sambar, the hot cup of tea on a cold winter evening, that slurpy ice cold chuski on a hot afternoon. “The question is - why give up on something that you enjoy so much? Why live a life of compromise? Why not take a simple action of using Sensodyne, and living a free, liberated life? Why put it off for some other time? What are you waiting for? Love your food, live your life, the way you want. Don’t let tooth sensitivity hold you back.”

The campaign that's been worked on by Grey India and Wunderman Thompson will be promoted on various digital platforms such as YouTube, Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, etc.

We turn to industry experts.

Communication consultant Karthik Srinivasan finds the campaign a visual stunner. “I guess that is intentional, to show how these popular and familiar food items are created, in such excruciating detail. This is a far cry from the imagery we usually have about toothpastes within the sensitive category - the most common imagery is of someone grimacing,” he says.

Karthik Srinivasan
Karthik Srinivasan

He explains that like the insurance category, sensitive toothpaste is a category where brands are forced to show the negative to make people relate to the problem being communicated. The, 'this could be you... so, buy our product' logic works very well. “I was hoping for the leads in these four ads to grimace the moment the rasam, chuski, chai and summer drink hit their teeth/tongue, but surprisingly, that did not happen! So, this time, Sensodyne decided to let the problem be imagined in viewers' minds.”

He adds, “This could be a function of data on awareness of teeth sensitivity. If Sensodyne/GSK's data/research shows that a lot more Indians are aware of this problem (thanks mainly to the specialist/dentist approach led by Sensodyne), it makes sense to move away from hammering the problem (negative) and get into the enjoyment part (positive). However, that puts the brand away from the specialist approach in communication, and into a mass-market approach like that of Colgate (which uses the same template of non-Indian dentist + grimacing models in advertising for the sensitive range, but a broader, positive tone for the normal toothpaste range).”

Praful Akali, founder and managing director, Medulla Communications, an ad agency that specialises in the healthcare space, feels the shift in communication works. “It is focused on bringing in new users to the brand/category or increasing the usage of the product by using the triggers of much-loved hot and cold beverages. It does a good job of connecting these foods to the brand,” he says.

Praful Akali
Praful Akali

He finds it a great attempt at switching tooth sensitivity from a medical/dental category to a lifestyle one. He says the campaign is well-crafted. “...brings in the love for each beverage and leaves one wanting more,” he says.

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