Procter & Gamble is running a social media campaign to promote Crest Whitestrips Advanced Seal. The program on Facebook offers prizes tied to peoples' connections and offers a grand prize of $2,000.
The contest, which went live this week at Facebook.com/ crestwhitestrips, requires people to submit a story about a holiday "connection wish" -- someone they want to visit -- for a chance to win the all-expenses-paid trip to do so. The winner of the viral program (people can pass the promotion along on Facebook) will be selected and notified in December.
Users can also play a daily sweepstakes offering weekly prizes around a connections theme, such as a year's membership to American Greetings to 15 people chosen at random; a Shutterfly photo book when they submit a holiday smile photo; a camera, Webcam or photo-related item.
A June study from Chicago-based market-research firm Mintel on the oral-care segment market says P&G's product has bucked the recessionary trend that has eroded sales of bleaching and whitening products.
Mintel says that except for 2007, sales of whiteners have slowly been decreasing since 2003 because consumers are opting for less expensive and more convenient mouthwashes and rinses that promise the same benefits; less expensive private-label whitening kits; and the recession-deterring discretionary spending on non-essential products.
The firm says Crest Whitestrips products, which owned 60% of the whitener market as of March this year, are not shackled to these problems because consumers are willing to pay for the product. "Future growth in the segment may depend on breakthroughs compelling enough to get consumers to pay a premium," says the firm. "The success of Crest Whitestrips Advance Seal stands as evidence for this assertion."
More broadly, while P&G leads the oral care market (including toothbrushes, toothpaste, mouthwash, dental floss and accessories, and whitening products) with more than 30% of store sales last year, sales have sputtered -- increasing only from $3.1 billion in 2003 to $3.3 billion in 2008.
The firm says the recession is only part of the problem. "A dearth of product innovations in 2008 and a slew of private-label offerings from drug stores and mass merchants have slowed sales and posed threats to brand leaders," says the report.