Colgate targets millennials with launch of DTC smart toothbrush

Linda J. Dodson

Dive Brief:

  • Colgate’s new smart electric toothbrush, Hum by Colgate, includes smart sensors tracking the frequency, duration and coverage of users’ brushing, the company said in an email.
  • Digital-first marketing for the brush will target millennials, focusing on social media — including influencers — and engaging a variety of diverse creators, per the company. The brand will also leverage search as well as paid and earned media across a variety of digital platforms. The list of partners being used to drive e-commerce sales includes Amazon, YouTube, Google, Hulu, Best Buy, Meijer and Walmart.
  • The brush includes an app that offers recommendations for better brushing and rewards points that can be redeemed via an in-app shop. The shop features Hum by Colgate products, such as new brush heads, as well as for offers from health and wellness partner brands. The app is integrated with Apple Health.

Dive Insight:

Colgate’s decision to focus on millennials for its latest smart product launch stems from the fact that the demographic group is not currently a major target group for other electric toothbrushes, the company said. 

The large digital component of the brand’s marketing for Hum by Colgate makes sense given that millennials are heavy users of digital platforms. The coronavirus pandemic, which has driven a significant jump in both e-commerce and consumption of digital media, has reinforced the need for a digital-first approach, according to Colgate.

Hum by Colgate applies patented digital technology with the goal of making the product easy to use and widely accessible. The company hopes these attributes will set the brand apart from the competition, which includes an AI-powered toothbrush from Procter & Gamble’s Oral-B, among others.

With Hum by Colgate, Colgate also has an opportunity to up its digital marketing game, which in the past has included testing audio ads with Amazon. To engage millennials and convert them to buyers, the brand said it will leverage an omnichannel approach designed to integrate Hum by Colgate into the group’s lifestyle, with messaging designed to be uplifting, creative and fun.

“For consumers, good habits are key to staying happy and healthy, and they prefer brands that help them build those habits in easy and fun ways,” said Bill van de Graaf, vice president of marketing for North America. 

With the new brush, Colgate joins a growing number of consumer packaged goods giants creating direct-to-consumer (DTC) brands with the aim of driving sales growth and deepening their bonds with customers. DTC brands are viewed as engaging consumers more directly, helping marketers to learn more about their core base of buyers.

The electric toothbrush is the first new brand to come out of Colgate’s accelerator innovation group, which is focused on anticipating category trends and cultural shifts and then moving quickly to bring related product innovations to market. 

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