Invisible Aligner Brand’s Cab Campaign Is a Geo-Targeted Love Letter to NY

Teledentistry startup Candid wants consumers to know the city isn’t dead

a cab driving through times square
"Smile On, New York" catches city dwellers' attention via taxi cabs. Candid
Headshot of Ian Zelaya

Covid-19’s March outbreak in New York saw certain pockets of city dwellers to flee to the suburbs and a subsequent cultural conversation about whether or not the city is dead.

In response, Candid, a DTC teledentistry brand, is informing residents that the city is more alive than ever with its latest geo-targeted campaign. The New York-based brand, which sells invisible aligners and retainers, has debuted “Smile On, New York,” a digital and OOH campaign that uses the tops of yellow taxi cabs to express reasons why the city should still make people smile.

The brand partnered with outdoor advertising platform Halo by Lyft, which attaches LED smart screens to the tops of vehicles displaying hyperlocal rotating ads, to showcase creative that changes based on the neighborhood where the cab is located.

a cab driving through the city with an ad on top that says "reason to smile #187: your sopranos win tonys."
If a cab is circling around the Theater District, its screen will display “Reason to smile #187: Your sopranos win Tonys.” Once a taxi hits the Upper West Side near Central Park, its screen will show: “Your local park is 842 acres.”Candid

Candid’s executive creative director Charles Fulford said the campaign is a rebuttal to the “Is New York dead?” conversation that’s still happening, as residents return to the city and kids go back to school. The brand developed the creative in-house in about a week.

“It’s been a hot topic, culturally, around what is the fate of this city,” Fulford said. “We wanted to put our foot down and say, ‘It’s going to be strange for a bit, but this place is timelessly inspirational and motivational.'”

phone screen that says "reason to smile #543: your local park is 842 acres."
The brand also incorporates the campaign on its social channels, where it will crowdsource new submissions.Candid

Beginning this week, Candid will invite New Yorkers to submit their own reasons on social media for why the city makes them smile. The brand will crowdsource responses on Twitter and Instagram to include in the cab creative.

The brand is also supporting the campaign with a video “minifesto” ad, developed using stock image and animation and additional static OOH creative.

Fulford said that while the campaign’s overall goal is to provide New Yorkers with positivity, he hopes the message translates to more awareness for Candid, which was founded in 2017.

“Our ultimate goal is to bring a smile to people’s faces or give them a little sense of pride. Hopefully that makes them think about our brand in a certain way,” he said. “Obviously there’s a correlation between smiling and what we do. This is more about getting our brand voice out there and injecting some positivity into the city that is our headquarters.”


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ian.zelaya@adweek.com Ian Zelaya is an Adweek reporter covering how brands engage with consumers in the modern world, ranging from experiential marketing and social media to email marketing and customer experience.
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