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For Orabrush, Video Milled a Marketing Star
By: Rosann Fisher
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At this year’s South by Southwest conference, panelist Robert John Davis, Executive Director, Advanced Video Practice at Ogilvy and Worldwide Interactive Marketing Director, said that fewer than four percent of YouTube videos reach 100,000 views or more during the Viral Is a Dirty Word: Strategic Video Success session. It’s a humbling fact, and one that makes it all that more impressive when brands manage to get their videos noticed — let alone when relatively unknown brands get their videos noticed on a shoestring budget.

Enter Orabrush, the David turned Goliath brand (well, almost) that was just named a Finalist for the 2012 North American Effie Awards. Back in 2009, a team of 20-somethings spearheaded by now-CMO Jeffery Harmon spent less than five hundred dollars to create their first and most widely viewed YouTube video in a pool hall. According to the press release, Orabrush is currently “the third most subscribed to sponsor channel on YouTube, behind only Apple and Old Spice, and has more than 46 million channel views.” Originally sold only online, the revolutionary “cure to bad breath” is now available in over 15,000 retail stores with plans for additional distribution.

So how’d they do it? With their video strategy, Orabrush set out to accomplish two goals: to educate and entertain consumers. Their original video focused on Halitosis — which affects about 50% of the population — but before Orabrush, most consumers didn’t know how to detect it (using a spoon). This is a classic direct marketing model of identifying a problem (Halitosis), appealing to psychological motivators and providing the solution. And, while doing so, they talked about solving the problem using the language consumers use. While all other oral health care brands focused on “Fresh Breath,” Orabrush embraced “Bad Breath” in a funny, entertaining way.

The Orabrush team then continued to engage, entertain, and build meaningful relationship with consumers through a weekly series Diaries of Dirty Tongue (Morgan’s “vlog”) staring local Utah comedian David Ackerman as Morgan. Ackerman’s character embodies the word “dirty” as he goes through life (for example, he plays football dirty in one segment). Now after a flurry of public relations coverage, financial success, and industry accolades, the brand is branching out. In 2011, they developed a revolutionary Tongue Foam that helps to “build your mouth's natural bad breath defenses” alone or in the accompaniment of the original Orabrush.

As part of their marketing strategy, the team is also educating consumers about the alternative uses of Orabrush. For instance, the tongue brush also works for pets and dogs in particular, who are as notorious for their bad breath as they are for their friendly disposition. And, based on the positive response, the team is taking that a step further and developing a specific tongue cleaner for dogs. They’re currently crowdsourcing via Facebook for ideas about the product name. Some interesting suggestions so far are: K9Clean and Orapup.

As for how they’ll market the product? Video, of course…expect to see another funny dog video on YouTube soon courtesy of Orabrush.

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About the Author
Rosann Fisher is an Integrated Marketing Manager. She enjoys running and doodling (when appropriate). Connect with her on LinkedIn or Twitter@rosann.
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