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P&G Pushes New Crest Brand

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Procter & Gamble is spending upwards of $90 million during the next year to introduceits new Crest Whitestrips product, client executives said.

Some $40 million will go toward traditional advertising in a TV and print campaign tagged, "Reveal your whiter smile." The effort kicks off today.

The campaign, from D'Arcy Masius Benton & Bowles, here, coincides with Crest White strips being made available in stores two weeks ago.

The product is a box of clear plastic strips that consumers wear over their teeth in half-hour intervals twice a day to whiten their teeth. It is the only product of its type currently on the market, and P&G has about a dozen patents on it, including the strip itself, said Val Bogdan-Powers, North America Whitestrips brand manager at the Cincinnati-based client.

"What we did was precede the market," she said of the product's initial introduction on the Internet in September. The company continued to increase awareness of the brand through public relations, events, advertorials and pre-order offers through selected retailers.

The campaign will reinforce awareness of the product and its availability, and will run through the summer, Bogdan-Powers said.

The first TV spot shows a woman talking about her work as a restorer of paintings and comparing that with using the strips to whiten her teeth. The primary consumer target is women ages 35-54. Print ads began breaking in the June issues of Bride's, Modern Bride and Bridal Guide.

Those ads show "things you wouldn't expect to be white be coming white just by touching the package," said Jennifer Curran, vp, management supervisor on Crest at D'Arcy. The ads show ants and a chameleon turning white.

A secondary target is men in the same age group. D'Arcy breaks another TV spot at the end of June that shows a man who recovers and restores sunken treasures.

"What consumers want is to restore the natural whiteness of their teeth," Curran said of the ad strat egy. "That's where the link was."