For most teens, years of bracket tightening, wire changes and orthodontist appointments are not something they look forward to. But when their favorite TikTok stars and internet influencers use their platforms to promote a slick alternative, straightening their teeth changes from a dreaded necessity to a trendy form of self-care.
Orthodontic company Align recruited young talent like Charli D’Amelio, the most followed creator on TikTok, as well as teen influencers Marsai Martin and China McClain to market its product as an attractive alternative to traditional braces. Following the campaign, the brand reported sales of the Clear Aligner for teenage patients were up 25.6% in Q3 compared to last year.
“After doing research, we’ve found that teens aren’t actually happy with metal braces,” said chief marketing officer Raj Pudipeddi. “In a gentle way, we have pointed out that Invisalign is everything they wanted because it can help them live their lives uninterrupted.”
When choosing talent and framing these campaigns, Align gives creators leeway in framing an authentic message while holding true to Align’s values.
“Charli is who she is because of how she communicates,” Pudipeddi said. “We share what we stand for with influencers and the tonality on how we want to come across, and then we depend on the authentic tone of voice that our influencers use.”
In one TikTok that received nearly 7 million likes and tens of millions of views, D’Amelio sips her coffee and casually vlogs her trip to the orthodontist. A promoted post on Instagram registered another 5 million views.
Align also incorporated a popular Gen Z slogan into its marketing campaign, utilizing 8-year-old Brandon from TikTok. In the video, Brandon is sporting his Invisalign when someone asks him what he has on. He replies in his famous voice, “Don’t worry about it, sweetheart,” implying that his new teeth straightener comes with far too much clout for his peers to handle.
Marsai Martin, who is known for her role in the ABC comedy Black-ish, promoted the product as a back-to-school essential, while former Disney Channel star McClain told her followers that Invisalign is the best option for “growing up in front of the camera,” allowing users to avoid the complications that come with metal braces.
Align is matching Gen Z’s commitment to social justice through its Social Purpose Program, which will reward 200 teens who have given back to their communities. Pudipeddi also attributed Align’s success in this quarter to leveraging its end-to-end digital platform.
“We are just now coming out with our brand values and identity, and the only way we can be a tech-forward and inspiring change agent is if we take that approach,” he said. “The talent and type of media we use indicate a more optimistic, positive approach to teeth straightening.”
Invisalign has in recent years had to fend off smaller competitors like SmileDirectClub and Byte after Invisalign’s patent for on clear aligners expired in 2017. SDC crossed the half million mark for customers in 2019, but still trails Invisalign by a wide margin as the brand counts 9 million customers worldwide.