Gen X-ers may remember Crest’s Saturday morning “Cavity Creeps” commercials from the late ‘70s and early ‘80s, in which an animated team of superheroes used Crest-branded vehicles and weapons to defend “Toothopolis” against the evil Cavity Creeps. (The agency was Benton & Bowles, long since absorbed into Publicis.)
Forty years later, a new generation of kids can fight the Cavity Creeps themselves by joining the “Crest Defenders” in an “Attack of the Cavity Creeps” virtual game, launching Wednesday through Crest and sister brand Oral-B at P&G’s virtual CES exhibit. Players will drop into the middle of Toothopolis and help such characters as “Captain Bristle” complete missions to combat bad breath, discoloration, early signs of gum disease and enamel erosion while defeating “General Decay.”
In 2015, Crest competitor Colgate launched its own animated superhero team -- the “Tooth Defenders,” who protect “Tooth City” from a band of “plaque monsters” in a 16-minute video that has since garnered over 12.5 million views. It’s part of that brand’s 31-year-old “Bright Smiles, Bright Futures” educational initiative for underserved communities.
“Attack of the Cavity Creeps,” while targeted at all kids, will also be rolled out as part of Crest’s and Oral-B’s’ “Closing the Smile Gap” initiative announced last month. Aiming to combat oral health inequity by bringing dental care access and education to 2 million families in 10 states, “Closing the Smile Gap,” which launched with an 11-minute video by filmmaker Thoraya Maronesy, has partnered with Jet Dental, other dental professionals, and nonprofits America’s ToothFairy and Feeding America.
In another partnership, announced Monday, Oral-B has teamed with Grin, a teledentistry platform that allows consumers to capture high-res mouth images on smartphones, and then transmit dental scans for an at-home consultations. “Oral-B and Grin hope to transform at-home oral health,” P&G said, noting that “now orthodontists can virtually recommend the oral care products and behaviors their patients need to maintain good oral health treatment.”
Also at its virtual CES site, Oral B’s two-year-old iO PowerBrush will preview its iO10 model with iOSense technology, providing “live coaching directly on the iOSense charger to guide your time, pressure, and coverage in real-time without needing to take a phone into the bathroom.” iO10 will also include such features as seven cleaning modes, and a clock and timer to help users “brush for the dentist-recommend two minutes.”
Oral-B also launched iO4 and iO5 models, each priced at under $100, featuring multiple brushing modes, rainbow lights that mark the end of two minutes, refill LED reminders on the handles, and real-time coverage tracking and coaching via Oral-B’s app.