Oral-B Brushes Up on Valentine’s Sentiment

NEW YORK Procter & Gamble is giving the Web a starring role in a Valentine’s Day push to introduce a new Oral-B toothbrush.

The “Brush With Romance” campaign features a branded Web site, www.brushwithromance.com, where visitors can put themselves in a starring role in humorous audio romance stories starring Fabio, A. Martinez or Tia Carrere, as well as choose from two different story options for each star. A sweepstakes, planned for next month, will award a date with Fabio.

Boston-based Digitas, Oral-B’s interactive agency, created the campaign, which uses print, outdoor and Internet ads to drive consumers to the site. The idea is to use the Web site as the major branding vehicle, said Jill Lewis, a business director for Oral-B.

“We’re using [the Web site] now as much more of a comprehensive piece in an integrated campaign,” she said. “Just having the product and features on a Web page is not going to grab [consumers] in a way so they’ll remember your product.”

Oral-B’s target audience is mainly women, who purchase about 75 percent of all toothbrushes, according to the company. Next month, Oral-B will roll out its new Sensitive Advantage, a soft-bristle brush for sensitive teeth and gums.

The “Brush With Romance” campaign includes a billboard in New York’s Times Square, Web placements and print ads in publications like Soap Opera Digest and Oprah.

Digitas created the site to allow a high level of customization. Fabio and the other actors recorded 300 common names so users can have their names used in the romantic tales. The site also inserts the visitor’s name on a romance novel cover. This level of personalization will increase viral distribution, said Mark Gordon, associate director of marketing at Digitas, and put Oral-B at the top of consumers’ minds when choosing from the array of toothbrushes on the shelf at their drugstore.

“If we can build engagement with the Oral-B brand, it builds that connection with the consumers and helps them remember it,” he said.