Aquafresh introduces new brand Captain for £3m marketing push

Aquafresh is introducing a new brand ambassador as part of a £3m marketing push that aims to find a way to engage people with the every day oral care category beyond price and return the market to growth.

Video: Aquafresh’s new TV ad campaign


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The campaign, which launches on Monday (14 July), features a new superhero, Captain Aquafresh, defending teeth against the sugars found in foods such as chocolate, cereal and bread. It aims to promote Aquafresh’s new range of sugar acid protection toothpastes, which it has introduced to its everyday oral care sub-brands including “Fresh and Minty” and “Complete Care”.

Speaking to Marketing Week Sarah Fleetwood, marketing manager for oral care at Aquafresh owner GlaxoSmithKline (GSK), says the aim of the new campaign is to find a way to engage with consumers about oral health and boost awareness and understanding of how what people eat can affect their teeth. She admits there is “confusion” in the everyday oral care sector, causing consumers to make purchases based on price, rather than health benefits.

This has led to everyday oral care sales underperforming when compared to the rest of the market. Figures from Nielsen show that while the oral health industry as a whole is in growth, with sales up 1.7 per cent for the year to the end of May, sales of everyday products are in slight decline, down 0.2 per cent.

GSK hopes this campaign will convince people to trade up and therefore boost sales. The sugar acid protection versions of its products will retail for £2.79, slightly more than the usual price for an everyday toothpaste.

“Consumers are engaged by oral care and trading up in sectors such as sensitivity, but there is confusion in the everyday market. Shoppers talk to us about how important oral care is but in the context of the busy weekly shop and when in the aisle a lot of purchase decisions are based on what is promotion. As a brand we have to find ways of engaging on things other than price at point of purchase,” she says.

The decision to focus on sugar acid protection comes as the sugar debate rages in the public arena, with the Government recently launching a campaign to get people to swap sugary fizzy drinks for healthier alternatives. However, Fleetwood claims most of the discussion so far has focused on weight and overall health but there has been less talk about the risk to teeth.“The sugar debate is out there but is rarely covered from a oral health perspective. This is an opportunity to make a really releveant link between something big on the public agenda and our brand,” she adds.

Beyond the TV campaign, GSK will be running print and interactive digital ads, as well as a launching a big push in stores to “bring Captain Aquafresh to life in the aisle”. The initial campaign will run for 8 weeks, with further pushes planned for later in the year, including social media activity.

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