£20m Colgate dental launch risks EU veto

Colgate-Palmolive has finalised the European launch plans for its Colgate Simply White teeth whitening kit, despite a lack of European approval for the levels of peroxide contained in the product.

Colgate believes that European regulators will approve peroxide-based tooth whitening products within six months, and wants to steal a march on its competitors by completing packaging and advertising in advance of the decision. Colgate has already shown the product to retailers in the UK.

Colgate Simply White contains about six per cent urea peroxide, considerably more than the 0.1 per cent currently allowed under European law. A six month supply of Simply White will cost £15.

Advertising is being handled by Rainey Kelly Campbell Roalfe/Y&R, and Mediaedge:CIA will buy media for the brand. The launch is expected to be based on similar claims to those made in the US, where advertising carries the line “clinically proven to whiten teeth in 14 days”.

One industry source says that Colgate predicts the brand will be worth at least £20m a year. He says: “It has been massive for Colgate in the US and Australia, where people really care about how white their teeth are. Colgate has already invested a lot of money in the launch, so it will be very disappointed if approval is not given.”

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