Salton Offers Oscars Come-On

Salton, distributor of the well-known George Foreman grills, targets women with two television spots from J. Walter Thompson for its new battery-operated toothbrush. The commercials will air during Sunday’s Academy Awards on ABC.

“We felt the Oscars was the perfect venue to really hit our target market,” said Barb Westfield, Salton’s senior vice president of media.

It is the first time the Mount Prospect, Ill., company has advertised during the show, Westfield said. A 30-second spot on the Oscars costs roughly $1.3 million.

The spots employ humorous scenarios to push Salton’s Ultrasonex toothbrush. In one, a shapely woman playing golf sensually licks her teeth as she prepares to tee off, apparently relishing the clean feeling she got from using the toothbrush.

“You’ll feel a difference with the Ultrasonex toothbrush,” a voice over says.

The woman’s male caddy misconstrues her teeth-licking as a come-on and responds similarly. He realizes his mistake when she stops and glares at him. “Your teeth will feel clean, smooth and, well … really clean,” the voiceover says.

Westfield said the company used humor so that its toothbrush would stand out in a category “bombarded” by advertising, most of which concentrates on images of gums, teeth and toothbrush bristles.

“Dental ads tend to be written in a very serious tone,” Westfield said.

The commercials briefly highlight some of the toothbrush’s features. “We do talk about the attributes of the product, but we wanted to capture people’s attention first,” Westfield said.

Executives at J. Walter Thompson referred calls to the client.

Another commercial shows a psychotherapist talking about the Ultrasonex’s features to everyone she meets, including a police officer as he issues her a ticket. The spot ends with her talking to a patient about the toothbrush instead of his problems during his therapy session.

This is the third campaign JWT has done for Salton since being assigned the account last May. The company previously advertised its products through infomercials.

Salton spent $10 million last year on advertising, according to CMR. Westfield declined to discuss this year’s spending.