Oral Hygiene and Hand Sanitizers

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Listerine Global Agencies

Over the past five years, Listerine has worked with J. Walter Thompson, Razorfish, UM MENA, DDB, Ensemble Worldwide, Allison+Partners, J3, and LURE. The advertisements and campaigns created by these ad agencies have been launched in the Americas (United States, Brazil, and Uruguay), Europe (Italy, the United Kingdom, and Germany), and Asia (the United Arab Emirates, Hong Kong, Malaysia, and others).

J. Walter Thompson (JWT)

  • In March 2015, Listerine worked with J. Walter Thompson to release a series of print advertisements that featured the caption “sometimes all you can do is smile” in Brazil.
  • In 2016, the “bring out the bold” campaign was launched in the United States.
  • In May 2016, the “smile converter” campaign was launched in Italy.
  • In May 2016, a series of print advertisements that featured the caption “as we come closer, let's do each other a favor” was released in the United Arab Emirates.
  • In 2017, the “bring out the bold” campaign was also launched in the United Kingdom.

Other Agencies

  • In March 2015, Listerine worked with Razorfish to launch the “kabe-don” campaign in Hong Kong.
  • In 2016, the #insidethemouth campaign created by UM MENA was launched in the United Arab Emirates, Kuwait, and Saudi Arabia.
  • In February 2016, the campaign created by DDB called “21 days Listerine challenge” was launched in Uruguay.
  • In 2017, the campaign created by Ensemble Worldwide called “Listerine's gargle orchestra challenge” was launched in Malaysia.
  • In 2018, Listerine worked with Allison+Partners to launch another version of the “bring out the bold” campaign in Asia-Pacific.
  • In 2018, the campaign created by J3 was released in the Middle East and featured the caption “try it this Ramadan.
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Listerine Global Positioning

Listerine currently advertises itself as a lifestyle brand across all of the company's major markets worldwide through its ongoing Bring out the Bold advertising campaign. However, the implementation of this marketing campaign varies by region, and highlights Listerine's versatility in targeting different consumers through different media channels and sub-messages.

Global Brand Positioning

  • In 2016, Listerine launched a worldwide media campaign entitled Bring out the Bold in an effort to get an "edge over its competitors" and reposition the company as a lifestyle brand.
  • Specifically, although Listerine's product was the dominant player in its category, the company was struggling with stagnant penetration rates into new households.
  • Listerine's response was an advertising campaign based its The Study of Bold survey of 6,000 consumers across six markets, which suggested that Listerine users "live bolder lives," and that the company could capitalize on this customer identity in both retaining and attracting new customers.
  • Notably, this marketing tagline and brand positioning was launched globally across 80 countries, including the US, UK, India and China, and remains prominent across the company's media channels, including Listerine's global website.

Regional Implementation

  • Despite the deployment of a universal tagline and brand position, Listerine simultaneously implemented a more nuanced push of customized sub-messages and delivery mechanisms that varied by region.
  • In Asia, for example, mouth wash is a particularly under-penetrated category, and Listerine deployed advertising which would more easily connect with consumers' lifestyles and culture to ultimately grow its market share by 28% in Korea and become the number one mouth wash in Japan.
  • In particular, Listerine launched video messaging in Asia which showed a female who “fears no food,” as she ate crab legs, dried squid and crushed ice, as well as a separate advertisement showing a man crackings walnuts in his teeth to impress women.
  • Both of these ads incorporated the regional food preferences and culture of Asia as well as the more universal theme of low self-esteem in order to attract both the male and female target audiences.
  • In contrast, Listerine engaged social media influencers, including Scarlett Dixon (aka Scarlett London), to reach potential female consumers in the UK, although these campaigns were more generally counterproductive than helpful in gaining market share in the region.
  • Meanwhile, in the US, Listerine capitalized on the current movement toward experiential marketing with interactive performance displays in major metropolitan areas like New York City, while similarly targeting modern American consumers with regionally trending themes like standing up to a bully or performing yoga.

Research Strategy

Please note, for the purpose of this analysis, one research source published in 2016 was included to provide additional detail related to Listerine's regional-based implementation of its Bring out the Bold marketing campaign. Given the fact that this marketing effort was originally launched in 2016, it was deemed appropriate to provide media coverage which detailed Listerine's intended brand positioning and strategy by region at the time the worldwide advertising campaign was launched. All other research included within this summary was published in 2018 or 2019, and it therefore seemed reasonable to include one resource written at the time of Listerine's current campaign launch for additional historic context.
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Listerine in Europe

Listerine has marketed on social media, YouTube, and with commercials. Examples of advertising their Bring Out The Bold and Boldify Your Routine campaigns and other advertisements are provided below and can be viewed in this document.

1. Scarlett London #BringOutTheBold Instagram

  • Scarlett London's paid post for Listerine on Instagram was not a success and instead caught a lot of backlash due to its complete lack of authenticity. The ad, which can be viewed here, features an influencer having a perfect morning and describes part of her morning routine as rinsing her mouth with Listerine Advanced White to whiten her teeth. She uses @listerineukireland and #BringOutTheBold in the post.
  • The post was retweeted with a statement regarding the impossibility of normal people having such fake, perfectly staged mornings and provided the picture as evidence of Instagram being a "lie factory" that makes normal people feel inadequate. The retweet called attention to the fact that all social media advertising is not good especially when the content is staged and has more of a studio-produced feel instead of authentically representing the brand and people.
  • The condemning tweet went viral and was retweeted over 25,000 times and received over 110,000 likes and was discussed on blogs and websites. The condemning retweet can be viewed here.

2. New Patient Hygiene and Listerine Professional Clean

  • Advertising for Listerine's marketing campaign for new patients can be found on their social media page, on their web page, and through dental resources such as the UK's Dentistry website. It was also advertised on dental providers' social media pages as shown in the document.
  • Customers are able to buy two promotional bottles and visit a dentist for a scale and polish within seven to 90 days of purchase. After the dental visit, customers send in their codes, receipts of purchase, and proof of scale and purchase treatment and then receive GBP 50 back.
  • The purpose is to introduce customers to their products and promote preventative health care by encouraging purchasers to get their teeth cleaned.

3. Listerine Nightly Reset

  • This advertisement is available on the Listerine UK YouTube page and was run on television. It shows a man using Listerine before and after sleep and gives graphics of how the products works inside the mouth. The advertisement states that the product remineralizes enamel and makes teeth six times stronger than brushing alone.

4. Bring Out The Bold

  • A UK advertisement had some questioning the company's comments about people eating insects on their Facebook and Twitter page. The company responded with the commentary that they felt as though Listerine users were more likely to do bold stuff and they tested their theory with a study and the resulting advertisement was based on those results. The Study of Bold study is a real study that can be viewed here.

5. Boldify Your Routine

  • Rodeo Show production company directed two UK commercials aimed to "humorously" show that Listerine and mouthwash is more than a hygienic practice and is actually a catalyst for a bold lifestyle. Both commercials can be viewed here and on their YouTube channel. The commercials feature a professional break dancer and stunt woman going about their unusual daily routines, including them swishing with Listerine.
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Oral Hygiene and Mouthwash Trends

The four oral Toothpaste mouthwash trends in Europe include Toothpaste that dominates the Oral Care Products, Growing demand for mouthwash & rinses, Germany dominates the market share, and demands for Teeth Whitening Products. While for global oral care products include New advanced products like Electric Powered Toothbrushes and the popularity of Baby Oral Care Products.

Oral Hygiene and Mouthwash Trends (Europe)

  • With more than 50% of the European population, mostly from the aged 60–65 years of age, may suffer from some form of periodontosis and other oral diseases.
  • In 2019, the revenue of oral care products in Europe is US$11,694.5m, and average revenue per capita of oral care products in Europe reach to US$13.79.

1. Toothpaste dominates the Oral Care Products

  • Consumers use different forms of Toothpaste from a gel, paste, and powders.
  • Toothbrushes are next to Toothpaste in the market share.

2. Growing demand for mouthwash & rinses

  • One of the major reasons for the rapid growth of mouthwash and rinses is because of the people who are suffering from dry mouth, diabetes, or Sjogren's syndrome.
  • Consumers undergoing radiation therapies also use alcohol-free mouthwashes.
  • There's an ongoing campaign regarding the importance of using rinses for the oral care of every European.
  • The rising awareness concerning the importance of oral health care has impacted the growth of the market share of Oral Hygiene and mouthwash in Europe.

3. Germany leads the market share in Oral hygiene products

  • Considering the number of its population, Germany is considered the largest market for oral hygiene products.

4. Teeth Whitening Products are emerging in the market

  • Most European are now more conscious about their appearance and oral hygiene, which also has a great impact on the increasing demand for teeth whitening products.

Oral Hygiene and Mouthwash Trends (Global market)

  • Based on the reports, the Global Oral care products reached USD 49.6 BN in 2018 and is expected to reach USD 67.5 BN by 2025.
  • China, Japan, Brazil, and India are the top four following US.

5. New advanced products

  • New products like Electric Powered Toothbrushes are in market because we are now in the new era, more companies are now producing and selling electric or battery-powered toothbrushes in the market.
  • Fresh breath strips, dental floss, and breath spray freshener are also in demand in the market, especially for the people who are always busy and on the go.
  • The popularity of the electric toothbrushes is due to the advanced features it gives while brushing your teeth.
  • Some features are specially made for sensitive teeth, whitening benefits, and gum-massaging features.

6. The popularity of Baby Oral Care Products

  • Toothpaste with mild formula and soft-bristled toothbrushes, specially made for sensitive gums and mouth of the babies, are included in these products.
  • Early Childhood Caries (ECC), like tooth decays and cavities, is one of the main reasons for the popularity of baby oral care products.
  • India and China dominate the growing market of baby oral care products.

Research Strategy:

  • To answer the client's request, we searched for the trends of oral hygiene and mouthwash trends for Europe through relevant government websites, regional industry reports, and media reports, such as Statista, Bloomberg, valuemarketresearch.com, and paywalls like marketresearch.com, and reportlinker.com. From this strategy, we found four trends that apply to European countries and added them to the findings sections.
  • Next, we broadened our research and searched for the global oral hygiene trends from sites like alliedmarketresearch.com, imarcgroup.com, and statista and added two new trends this time they are focused globally following one of the criteria required for this task. I have added them all in the findings' area.
  • The trends are based on the popularity of each trend that currently emerges in the market today. Trends included are also based on how many times they were mentioned from different articles provided for this task.
  • In conclusion, the four oral hygiene and mouthwash trends in Europe include Toothpaste dominates the Oral Care Products, Growing demand for mouthwash & rinses, Germany dominates the market share, and demands for Teeth Whitening Products. While for global oral care products include New advanced products like Electric Powered Toothbrushes and the popularity of Baby Oral Care Products.
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Purell Hand Sanitizer

The hand sanitizer was invented by a student nurse named Lupe Hernandez in Bakersfield in 1966 and saw a drastic growth in two phases during 2005 and 2009. Purell was invented in 1988 and primarily focused on retail and commercial applications and later expanded to common consumer usage. Purell as the inventor of the first retail marketed hand sanitizer cleverly tapped the market and can be considered as the major contributor driving growth within the sanitizer market.

Rising History of the Hand Sanitizer

  • The hand sanitizer was invented by a student nurse named Lupe Hernandez in Bakersfield in 1966 when she realized that alcohol delivered in a gel-form could clean one's hands in situations where soap and warm water were not available. The initial offering was laid down at a commercial level when Hernandez duly called an invention hotline and registered a patent.
  • In the initial days, sanitizers were produced and used for large-scale commercial application purposes only and entered into retail sales in 2005 and thereafter, during the first months of the outbreak of the H1N1 (swine flu) pandemic in 2009. The major reason cited behind the rise in sales of this product was the time needed to properly clean one's hands as the use of soap and water required at least 15 to 20 seconds to remove all dirt, germs, and other substances on the hands. A hand sanitizer did the job well in much less time without the need for soap or water.
  • The U.S. market contributed the most to this product's growth, being the land of invention, and the product saw a phenomenal growth from $28 million in 2002 to $80 million by 2006. The U.K. and other European nations followed thereafter. Market research company Nielsen reported that the sector experienced an increase in sales of 71% in 2009 during the H1N1 epidemic.
  • A major increase in the retail sales of sanitizers was seen twice, once in 2005 when more than $67.3 million in sanitizers were sold depicting a 53.5% increase from 2004. The second major rise came during the large-scale swine flu pandemic in 2009.

Purell's Market Positioning

  • Purell, being the inventor of the first retail-marketed hand sanitizer, cleverly tapped the market with every opportunity it got. It is evident that Purell was a major contributor to driving growth within the sanitizer market rather than just growing with the market.
  • The reason behind the invention: Purell hand sanitizer was invented in 1988 by a company named GOJO with a primary target of fulfilling the hygiene needs of healthcare providers and restaurant operators. Healthcare workers had issues killing hand germs when access to soap and water was restricted. Similarly, restaurant operators needed extra germ-fighting protection to reduce the risk of food contamination on the go.
  • Initial quick success of Purell: Purell had great success in its early years not only due to its effective way of killing 99.99% of the most common germs but also because it was convenient, gentle and pleasant to use. Because its product was easy to transport and store, Purell had a good hold on the market right from its inception.
  • The turning point in the history of Purell: Purell's first major milestone was in 1997 when the hand sanitizer was approved to be released at a consumer-level. This allowed the company to become America’s #1 hand sanitizer brand and, therefore, a significant part of popular culture.
  • Growth drivers for Purell: The strategic marketing team was able to quickly gauge the right time to launch the product and the correct market dynamics and this fueled the growth of the company. While the U.S. and the world were devastated by the H1N1 (swine flu) epidemics, strategists within Purell used this event as an opportunity to launch its "revolutionary line of touch-free wall and counter-mount dispensing systems" in 2006 and the Purell Green Certified Hand Sanitizer in 2010.
  • The company underwent major changes related to product manufacturing, timing launches, and innovations. Ever since its launch, Purell has been focused on innovation and strategically selling its sanitizer product.
  • GOJO, the brand's parent company, maintained the manufacturing, marketing and sales of the product from its invention up to the late 90s when it was predominantly selling to healthcare service providers and restaurants in retail. The first consumer-facing sanitizer was launched in 1997.
  • The brand was sold off to Pfizer-owned Warner-Lambert in 2004 and later acquired by J&J during the acquisition of Pfizer’s consumer healthcare sector. The sole idea stated behind this major sell-off was that the company trusted that the large-scale consumer marketing company could build the product in the consumer segment more successfully. Strategically though GOJO continued to handle Purell in the professional sector.
  • Interestingly, GOJO bought back the Purell brand from J&J in 2010 (post-outbreak of swine flu) to concentrate on driving the consumer sector sales further ahead of what J&J had already set up. The company cited that the transaction was intended to "expand the product line to include effective solutions for anywhere, home, work and on-the-go." The company used large-scale innovation to further build-up the brand and fiercely compete in the market.

Research Strategy

To determine the initial growth stages of the hand sanitizer industry and its first brand Purell, we focused on historical sources dating back to 2003. The growth of the Purell brand was assessed based on the overall market growth statistics. Through our research, we noted that Purell, as the major market-driver in the early stages, shaped the initial days of the sanitizer and built trust in the product among the consumers and commercial establishments.


From Part 05
  • "PURELL Hand Sanitizer was invented in 1988 by GOJO to meet the needs of healthcare providers and restaurants operators looking for ways to reduce the spread of germs. Healthcare workers needed to kill germs on their hands when they couldn’t get to soap and water. And restaurant operators needed extra germ-fighting protection to reduce the risk of food contamination."
  • "PURELL Hand Sanitizer was a great success, not only because it was effective at killing 99.99% of most common germs, but because it was convenient, gentle and a pleasure to use. The dispensers and bottles could be placed anywhere, so hand hygiene was no longer restricted to the confines of a sink. And people enjoyed using PURELL Hand Sanitizer because it was refreshing and gentle."
  • "In 1997, PURELL Hand Sanitizer was made available to consumers, forever changing the way the world stays well. It soon became America’s #1 hand sanitizer and a significant part of popular culture."
  • "In the US alone, the growth of the market is astounding: valued at $28m (£17m) in 2002, it had swollen to $80m (£50m) by 2006, and is predicted to be worth some $402m (£250m) by 2015."
  • "We addressed the need for a regimen that allowed employees to wash and sanitize hands, and in 1988, we invented PURELL® Instant Hand Sanitizer."
  • "The development of PURELL Instant Hand Sanitizer was a turning point for our company, and in 1997, we launched it as a consumer product, allowing people everywhere to have convenient access to hand hygiene. "
  • "Keeping with the spirit of innovation, in the years after PURELL® products were developed, we’ve continued to push for better solutions in hand hygiene. In 2006, we introduced a revolutionary line of touch-free wall and counter-mount dispensing systems that made hand hygiene more convenient than ever."
  • "In 2010, we released PURELL Green Certified Hand Sanitizer, the world’s first EcoLogo certified hand sanitizer. When we developed PURELL® Advanced Instant Hand Sanitizer in 2011, we were able to create our most efficacious formulation, and reinforced our position as the most trusted and used brand in hospitals. This new formula kills more than 99.99% of most common germs that cause illness, and allows us to continue to push the hand hygiene envelope."
  • "Hand sanitizer sales have shot up since the outbreak of the swine flu pandemic, giving rise to an unexpected side trend: getting high on the alcohol-based substance."
  • "Hand sanitizer sales in the United States have enjoyed double-digit growth since 2003, according to marketing information company ACNielsen. This year through December, more than $70 million in all brands of hand sanitizers (Purell is the market leader, enjoying more than $36.6 million of the sales) have been sold in U.S. supermarkets and drugstores, up 14.4 percent from the year before."
  • "The largest sales growth in recent years came in 2005, when more than $67.3 million in sanitizers were sold, a whopping 53.5 percent increase from 2004, according to ACNielsen figures."
  • "Even before the H1N1 outbreak, alcohol-based sanitizers like Purell enjoyed 53 percent annual sales growth, and Americans spent $117 million per year on them. With the advent of the H1N1 influenza pandemic last year, national germ-phobia kicked into even higher gear"
  • "Johnson & Johnson (JNJ, Fortune 500), which makes Purell and distributes it to retailers, does not provide figures on sales or shipments of items such as hand sanitizer. But the company said demand for Purell has been "heavy" since the first cases of swine flu broke."
  • "The company is working to increase production for the remainder of the year and the beginning of 2010, but Boston acknowledged that supplies may be limited in some areas"
  • "The first consumer product was launched in the late 90s and the brand sold to Pfizer-owned Warner-Lambert in 2004. It was later acquired by J&J when the company acquired Pfizer’s consumer healthcare sector."
  • "According to Gojo spokesperson Joe Drenik, the company originally sold the brand as it believed a consumer marketing company could build it in the consumer segment more successfully; although, Gojo continued to take care of Purell in the professional sector."
  • "Drenik said innovation was the key to the company’s plans to build the brand in the consumer segment. “We will bring innovation to the retail category as we have in professional markets,” he said, before adding that innovations introduced to the consumer market will have to be deemed appropriate for the sector."
  • "Hand sanitizer, while not usually in widespread demand in retail and commercial buildings, became a popular item during the first months of the H1N1 (swine flu) pandemic earlier this year."
  • "“A lot of people just run their hands under the water and don’t even lather up,” says Faye Carter, senior vice president of operations for Miami-based Grosvenor Building Services. A thorough hand washing requires cleansing with soap and water for at least 15 to 20 seconds to achieve the removal of all dirt, germs and other substances that might be on the hands — followed by rinsing and drying the hands."