Believe it or not, oral health is an indicator of school performance. As U.S. families prepare to return to school this month, Procter & Gamble’s Crest toothpaste wants parents to know about the connection.
According to company research, kids with poor oral health are three times more likely to miss school and kids with toothaches are four times more likely to have a lower grade-point average. Thus, the company has teamed with Feeding America and the national PTA to launch the “Healthier Smiles Project,” to raise awareness of these statistics via meetings and school activities and donate hundreds of thousands of toothpaste tubes to needy families.
“It’s a way to educate people about the importance of oral health and the importance of an oral health routine,” Dennis Legault, North American marketing director for oral care at Procter & Gamble, tells Marketing Daily. “We wanted to create a program that had full national exposure as well as a grass-roots [element].”
The program launches this week with a television commercial that will air during the Olympics. The spot, from Publicis, features William Shakespeare speaking about a girl, Sarah, who is missing out on the “rich classroom discussion” of Hamlet because of tooth pain. Using the vernacular of the current times, the Bard says it’s “Hashtag: Not cool. Hashtag: Remedial reading,” and drops his quill to the ground as a metaphor for her falling GPA.
“If you don’t take care of your oral health, it will affect your performance at school,” says David Corr, executive creative director at Publicis. “Shakespeare seemed to be [effective] because of his ability to deliver the message in a wry way.”
As an Olympics sponsor, Procter & Gamble already has a big presence during the event broadcasts this summer. The confluence of the event and the back-to-school season made the timing perfect, Legault says.
“Back-to-school is a time when parents are looking for ways to have their kids be successful,” he says. “And the Olympics are a high-profile event that a lot of families and kids will be watching.”