D’Arcy Switches Sonicare Ads’ Focus to Technology

Sonicare no longer believes in the tooth fairy.

After shifting ad agencies, the upscale power-toothbrush brand has ousted the tooth-fairy character—a middle-aged man with pink wings and a tutu—and shifted the focus to the technology behind the product.

The work is the first from D’Arcy Masius Benton & Bowles for Philips Oral Healthcare, whose Sonicare product is one of the most expensive power toothbrushes on the market. The shop won the account in November, taking over for Goodby, Silverstein & Partners in San Francisco.

“It was very funny and entertaining,” client director of consumer marketing Jay McCulloch said of Goodby’s work, which featured the tooth fairy encouraging people to improve their brushing habits. “But we wanted to come up with something that would convey a high-tech image and the premium quality Sonicare represents. We’re focusing on a different and better way to clean teeth.”

Diane Krouse, managing director of D’Arcy here, said a new TV spot offers a “layman’s idea” of how Sonicare works that can be understood without “looking up quantum physics.”

“The challenge was to help consumers understand enough about the product to understand the price point. It’s the difference between a Honda and a Rolls Royce,” she said.

Sonicare brushes are priced from $79 to $119, McCulloch said. The company has sold some 10 million units worldwide since introducing the brand in 1992.

The 30-second spot, conceived by D’Arcy’s L.A. and London offices, broke last week. A 15-second spot and print work will follow later this year or early next. The Snoqualmie, Wash., client will spend an estimated $14 million on the campaign through the end of this year.

The new spot opens with a flashing patent number and a close-up of a woman’s teeth. She says: “All power toothbrushes are not created equal. Sonicare. It has patented sonic technology and combines high-speed bristle motion with dynamic cleaning action.” The ad guarantees that Sonicare can remove 80 percent of stains, including coffee, tea and tobacco, within 28 days.

The ad will air nationally on network and cable TV. Media is handled by MediaVest in L.A.