Selling an oral care oxymoron: Toothpaste for gums

IPA Effectiveness Awards Case Study 2018

The challenge for GSK’s small gum care brand, parodontax, (Corsodyl in the UK) was to convince consumers to switch from regular toothpastes to its products that also treated gum disease. Strategy developed the metaphor of a journey towards socially embarrassing disease symptoms, like bad breath and bleeding gums, unless people treated the condition early. A single creative idea was deployed internationally to maximise media spend and increase share of voice. TV ads brought impact, with other channels used to cut through with consumers in mornings or whilst travelling. Ads outperformed on awareness and likelihood to persuade disease non-treaters to buy the brand. Incremental sales of almost £50m were generated and parodontax became the world’s fastest-growing multi-market toothpaste brand.

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When we set out to change global oral care behavior and step change sales for a specialist gum care toothpaste against the tide of culture, the category and historical evidence, we were aware we faced a commercial trade-off. On the one hand evidence from the IPA suggests we should invest every penny in boosting share of voice – the best predictor of market share. On the other hand global brand building best practice indicates there is value in adapting brand to the nuances of local culture. Yet with an increasingly complex communications landscape across 40+ markets there is considerable cost attached. As a small brand facing a huge challenge we made a commercial decision to trade-off cultural effectiveness for global creative efficiency, in doing so freeing up extra investment for media. But over the course of the campaign we’ve learnt we can have both; by unlocking a universal behavioural insight that transcends culture, we’ve created an approach that is both highly efficient and very effective. Our results have added to company learning about multi-market brand building and helped inform the way GSK consumer healthcare approach marketing globally. We genuinely believe it’s a model that can be applied beyond the category, providing smaller multi-market brands the ability to challenge the status quo.

Clare Brosnan, Global Marketing Director

Winners 2018

Bronze Winner


Selling an oral care oxymoron: Toothpaste for gums






Grey London

Principal Authors

  • Jeremy Poole - Grey London

Contributing Authors

  • Matt Gladstone - Grey London

Credited Companies

  • PHD - Media Agency
  • Geometry London - Creative Agency
  • Edelman London - PR Agency

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