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#Whattheblack : Colgate’s charcoal toothbrush

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MUMBAI: Have you ever seen a black egg, black newspaper or a black toothbrush?  If not, then behold, Colgate-Palmolive (India) has launched a Colgate SlimSoft Charcoal toothbrush. Yes, charcoal.

The country’s first and only toothbrush with bristles infused with Charcoal is based on the key Indian insight of the traditional oral care benefits of charcoal. The launch is focused towards growing Colgate’s leadership in the toothbrush category, with the present market share of 43.6 per cent (YTD June 2014).

However, what is more interesting is the buzz created on the digital medium before the big announcement.

With the advent of new tools of communications, the digital media channel has increasingly become an integral part of the communications mix for brands today. The platform brings an opportunity to build lasting relationships with consumers, who could become the most vocal champions or brand advocates. So, for a brand with a great product or service, consumers are curious about it and often reach out through the social media.

The #whattheblack campaign, launched a few days before the announcement, was a unique approach to bring alive a category that often witnesses feature related communication. Going beyond traditional marketing techniques, through this campaign Colgate reached out to netizens for building advocacy. “For the first time the digital medium was innovatively used to launch a new product - through teasers, user generated content, creating conversations,” says the Colgate spokesperson.

The campaign was conceptualised by Red Fuse Communications, WPP’s full-service integrated global agency dedicated to serving all of Colgate-Palmolive’s brands worldwide, and was executed by Candid Marketing.

The insight which went into it was that toothbrush has traditionally been a low involvement category. Consumers don’t think or talk about it to others and the concept of word-of-mouth publicity has been non-existential in this category. However, with the launch of the new Colgate Slim Soft Charcoal toothbrush, unique opportunities have opened up, feels the brand and the agency.

Black bristles in a category associated with white bristles is highly disruptive and this presented Colgate with an opportunity of creating brand visibility and advocacy through disruptive communication techniques. “To bring this alive, the approach was to generate curiosity and intrigue amongst the key opinion leaders. The objective of the campaign was to create schema disruption, leveraging the colour black. This was achieved by turning every day white items - such as eggs, newspapers, tissues – into black,” highlights the spokesperson while adding that the items were sent out on different days to media and key opinion leaders such as marketing professionals and bloggers across key metros without any mention of Colgate or the toothbrush. On the last day, the brand was revealed elaborating that the personal toothbrush has now turned black as well.

All the campaign elements were tagged with the hashtag #whattheblack to further amplify visibility on digital platforms such as Facebook, Twitter and blogs. The campaign moniker #whattheblack through the digital platforms further assisted in developing user generated content.

The campaign that was initially targeted towards 200 opinion leaders got amplified to 23.8 million consumers, a never before witnessed in this category.

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