makeO toothsi, a prominent brand in the category, is advertising during the ongoing IPL 2023 on JioCInema.
FMCG, automobile, gaming, fintech, etc., are some categories that are commonly seen advertising during the Indian Premier League (IPL). But who would have imagined seeing a teeth aligners brand advertise during the IPL.
The teeth alignment category has traditionally been dominated by metal braces that target kids, who face crowding of teeth or severely misaligned teeth or gaping issues. Needless to say, getting dental braces is quite a cumbersome and painful procedure that involves multiple visits to the dentist. Another drawback of the traditional metal braces, is the social perception that comes with it.
Providing a quick solution to these limitations of metal braces, many clear or invisible aligner brands have recently entered the market. Some of these include makeO toothsi, Invisalign and Illusion Aligners. Owing to these brands, the once highly unorganised category, is slowly transitioning into a more branded one.
makeO toothsi, a major player in the category, has upped its marketing game by advertising during the ongoing TATA IPL 2023. The ad, featuring celebrity couple Virat Kohli and Anushka Sharma, cleverly positions the brand’s hassle-free at-home service, by comparing it with an online food delivery app.
The campaign is created and conceptualised by Creativeland Asia.
Speaking about the brand’s IPL outing, Shuchita Wadhwa, head of marketing and founding member, makeO – toothsi, says that it was important for the brand to educate and raise awareness among people. If there’s a need for teeth straightening, corrective solutions are available at any age, she adds.
“Cricket and the IPL brings people together, as it’s a family viewing event. The IPL can help reach out to people, who the brand’s unable to reach out to through traditional digital channels. Hence, we’re able to get new users into the funnel.”
It, therefore, felt right for the brand to advertise during the IPL. It must be mentioned that it’s not the brand’s first association with the IPL. Last year too, it sponsored the IPL team ‘Gujarat Titans’, as its ‘back of the helmet sponsor’.
toothsi’s core TG is between 25 and 40 years, and it’s equally popular among both males and females. So far, most of the brand’s revenue has coming from the top eight metros of India, but there’s also significant demand from Tier-II cities.
To keep its focus on Tier-I cities, the brand opted to go with digital advertising during the IPL, as it provides a more targeted reach.
Explaining the rationale behind advertising on JioCinema, Wadhwa says, “There tend to be certain geographical limitations with TV. Because of the brand’s high ticket size, the TG for the aligners is mostly middle- and high-income people. We were impressed with the innovations that JioCinema brought to the table. Also, making the IPL free, means that more people will watch it.”
In the view of Atin Roy, senior VP - Ogilvy Health & Wellness, the current burgeoning digital culture of being ‘seen’ on social media platforms, has heightened the desire to look good.
Elaborating on the clear aligners category, he adds, “This ‘social me’ is one of the reasons why appearance is becoming a priority. This, along with the increased purchasing power and availability of advanced options like invisible aligners, has led to the growth of the ‘aesthetic enhancement’ market.”
Advertising is important to establish invisible aligners, as a new category. Most people only know of the cumbersome braces as a way to fix crooked teeth, hence, awareness of this convenient and customised solution, needs to be created.
While the brand’s focus, until now, has been on educating the consumers, its next challenge, as per Wadhwa, is to get more of them to adopt invisible aligners.
On how the brand will do this, she shares, “By making noise... the right kind of noise. After all, there’s so much content out there today. So many brands, campaigns, products, etc.”
And, to break the clutter, toothsi has been using quirky, topical campaigns that engage both the youngsters and adults alike. Wadhwa points out that the addressable clear aligners market, is fairly sizeable. And, many players are reaping the benefits of the awareness and education that the brand has been able to build, over the last four years.
“toothsi’s latest campaign leverages the mindset of food delivery and online pharmacy apps that provide quick at-home services. For this season, storytelling is the differentiator for the brand's IPL campaign,” states Wadhwa.
How can clear aligner brands, drive mass adoption?
While the brand has adopted mass advertising as its strategy, and has Kohli and Sharma as its celebrity endorsers, driving adoption can be a challenge for the medical-driven category.
Wadhwa agrees. She, however, informs that the founding team at toothsi, wished to take up the positioning of a ‘lifestyle-driven product’.
Ogilvy’s Roy points out that crooked teeth, as a problem, had a few takers earlier, because of the complex nature of treatment and the social aspect of being seen in braces.
He mentions, “Invisible aligners seem to offer an easy way to get the proverbial ‘perfect smile’, without the embarrassment. Although early adopters may respond well, the price may still be prohibitive for most of the population in India, and a financing model like equated monthly instalments (EMIs) may be useful in helping these brands tip towards the masses.”
The challenge of being a medical-driven product
According to certain doctors, the claims that clear aligner brands make in their marketing communication, are untrue and may harm people who use them over the long-term. In such a scenario, these brands need to be even more cautious in their advertising.
Healthcare marketing communication is different from regular marketing communication, as it needs to be more ethical and responsible.
Roy shares, “Overclaim is the bane of any product category, but in health, it can really harm the customer’s well-being and the brand’s image. In the case of clear aligners, it’s important to set expectations of the outcome, and assure that it’s safe and causes no side effects.”
He adds that the key to convincing doctors about the merit of clear aligners, is in getting science to back the claims. “Better outcomes or effectiveness data endorsed by oral experts is necessary, if clear aligners want to create positive imagery within the doctor community. Only then can the category expect more doctors to recommend them.”