Aquafresh

How can we bring pleasure to a routine category?

Services: Qualitative Online Community | Adventure Immersion IDIs | Target Segment Portraits | Strategic Narrative Development | Consumer Documentary Video

Use innovation to transform the appeal and outcomes of a routine category

Challenge

Aquafresh has been a family staple for nearly 50 years, and its mission to provide whole mouth protection through strong teeth, healthy gums, and fresh breath is clearly and uniquely represented in its three classic stripes.

However, in the search for long-term sustainable growth, it became apparent that the oral care category itself needed some fresh thinking: oral care was being seen as a chore, and families weren’t feeling empowered to take care of their teeth.

But how do you bring pleasure and excitement to a routine category? And how can you use product innovation to change several generations’ approaches towards – and sentiments about – oral health?

Clarity

For many consumers, the toothpaste category has lost its sparkle. People are shopping on autopilot, reaching for whatever brands are on discount, and they’re locked into a routine of mindlessly brushing twice a day because they have to – not because they want to.

We talked to a range of consumers globally and interestingly, one common theme strongly emerged across borders: boredom. Brushing routines were being perceived as so boring that consumers weren’t engaging as frequently or for as long as they needed to – especially kids.

The brief was clear: better longer brushing is the best defense against oral health issues, so we had to find a way to liven up the brushing experience. If we could make the daily routine more enjoyable and exciting, then we could improve and ingrain brushing habits that would prevent tooth decay over time.

Bringing pleasure to a routine category

Solution

We worked with GSK on several innovation workstreams to create new product solutions that would change the way people feel about brushing their teeth. In other words, we needed to find a way to make oral health a pleasure and a priority – not a chore.

We identified flavor as one of the most important opportunities for us to bring pleasure, energy, and value back into this category for both adults and kids. Flavor was a simple but powerful way to elevate the experience and encourage consumers to brush for longer without having to change their behavior.

Flavored toothpastes already existed, of course, but they generally focused on niche consumers at a premium price point. We needed a way to tap into a bigger, mass opportunity and move consumers up from mint-flavored SKUs to a more premium but still accessible flavor experience. Importantly, our solution had to add value for both the consumer (by making their brushing experience more pleasurable) and the category (by bringing more new news and differentiation).

We provided detailed executional guidance and worked with the pack design team to retain elements essential to achieve maximum impact. We also worked closely with individual markets, helping them to understand local nuances and gaining support for the proposition globally.

Impact

Two new flavor-led product ranges were launched in 2020 – taking innovations from idea to shelf during a tumultuous year of unprecedented change – to help keep everyone in the family brushing for longer: 

Aquafresh Senses – a family of three flavored adult products that awaken the mouth and the senses with a revitalizing boost of freshness and a sensational clean.

Aquafresh Splash – a specially-designed strawberry and mint flavored kids product that provides expert protection and makes brushing a fun experience.

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