When we wake up in the morning, the very first thing we do is brush our teeth! Some brush their teeth 2 times a day, some do it 1 time a day but everyone (mandatorily) does that. Though a very boring ritual, without it, we would be stinking every time we open our mouth.
There are behemoth toothbrushes in the market to help you through it but one product that constantly aims at improving dental care is no one else but Oral-B.
Here we are, covering the brand story of Oral-B where we take you through its entire journey covering how it was formed, how and when it gained popularity along with its marketing mix (4Ps).
Technically Oral-B is known for toothbrushes but when we take a deeper dive in its brand story, Oral-B is definitely a lot more than mere toothbrushes.
Walking Down Oral-B’s Memory Lane:
The brand story of Oral-B dates back to 1938 in California, America. Henry Sargol invented a soft nylon-bristled toothbrush and called it Oral-B but it was on 13th Jan- 1950 that Oral-B became a reality.
Robert W. Housten a war veteran studied dentistry at the University of California at San Francisco (1920-2001) established Oral-B in a basement workshop in San Jose. Previously he served in WWII in the Navy as an ensign. Later he started practicing his dentistry at 13th Santa Clara streets near San Jose Hospital.
That’s when he began experimenting with toothbrushes. He tried to make one toothbrush that was soft enough to be gentle with gums at the same time strong enough to effectively clean them as well.
After years of experimenting and prototype testing (on himself) he discovered that by using 100s of thin nylon filaments with rounded ends he can achieve the desired results.
On 13th Jan 1950 with Oral-B becoming reality, Robert W. Housten patented the toothbrush as “Housten Toothbrush” on 24th October the same year.
In August 1958, he was granted a new patent for a “mouth brush” that had a similar design to its earlier model but this time with numerous, fine, soft and flat-ended nylon bristles.
In 10 years, with Oral-B’s continuous product development the company was selling more than 5 million brushes every year.
Oral-B started to gain momentum in the late 1960s when Housten sold it to H.Smith Co. which then incorporated as Cooper Tinsley Lab in 1961.
Then came Palo Alto who took care of the company for some time and helped Oral-B to diversify into other dental products like fluorides & flosses.
Gillette expressed their interest in Oral-B in 1984 and purchased the company with a $188 million whooping deal. It is said that, when Gillette purchased Oral-B with that amount, it was equal to 15 times the net earnings of the business and its assets.
Another brand Braun within Gillette’s portfolio began using Oral-B’s name for their electric toothbrushes. In 1991, the company won Edison Award for the indicator bristle design which is common to all brushes (but remember, it was Oral-B which 1st introduced this turnaround feature that time).
1993 witnessed another breakthrough product, Oral-B Advantage toothbrush that comes with a multi-level trim pattern to bristles to offer better & more effective cleaning.
In 1998, Oral-B rolled out their Cross-Action toothbrush which had angled bristles and today its primary head is shipped with electronic brushes.
In 2003, the company comes up with another revolutionary product, especially for kids. Oral-B Stages which is specially designed for the 4 different stages of a child’s development.
Oral-B – NOW!
While the brand’s history is closely linked with their continuous product development and diversification, 21st century is all about how well Oral-B has integrated technology in its product along with how effective is their communication towards their audience.
21st century is all about AI, IoT, and integration, Oral-B is on a continuous journey to effectively adopt the technology in their products.
Oral-B’s not yet released brush iO can be the game-changer in the category. iO and GenuusX (successor to the company tech-enables toothbrush) together are marketed as AI toothbrushes. A part of the product is a simple toothbrush and a part of the product is carefully integrated with AI to give the user a whole new experience of brushing their teeth.
Today, Oral-B is spread across 60 countries (that started as a basement project). The brand knows very well how to move ahead with time and how to effectively adopt technology and the current hype to revolutionize their niche.
The brand story of Oral-B is incomplete if we don’t throw some light on their marketing mix. For a simple product like a toothbrush (and toothpaste), having product advancements is as necessary as being able to communicate the same among the target audience.
Marketing Mix of Oral-B:
Though the marketing mix has 7Ps (Product, Price, Place, Promotion, People, Processes & Physical Evidence), we’ll cover 4 most crucial ones: Product – Price – Place – Promotion.
The product strategy of the Oral-B brand is something worth highlighting. Nobody purchases toothbrushes with extensive planning, it’s majorly an impulsive decision (until and unless recommended by the dentist to buy a particular toothbrush only).
The brand story of Oral-B started as a simple toothbrush with effective bristles and with time the company integrated technology in their toothbrushes. Also, it introduced quite a few products that are essential in oral care.
Here are product highlights or Ora-B.
Floss: Available as Complete, 3D White and Pro-Health.
- Glide Pro-Healthy Comfort Plus Mint Floss.
- Glide Pro-Health Deep Clean Mint Floss.
- Pro-Health Clinical Protection Floss Picks.
- Complete Battery Replacement Brush Heads.
- Pro-Health Battery Replacement Brush Heads.
- Pro-Health Clinical Battery Toothbrush.
Electric Toothbrushes: Range of toothbrushes available for kids, vitality, pro & genius. These brushes come with amazing features like pressure sensors, times and Bluetooth connectivity.
- Genius 8000 Rechargeable Electric Toothbrush
- 7000 with Bluetooth Electric Rechargeable Toothbrush
- Pro 5000 with Bluetooth Connectivity Electric Rechargeable Toothbrushes.
- Stages Power Disney Dory Electric Toothbrush.
- Pro Health Jr. Disney Frozen Vitality Toothbrush.
- Star Wars Battery Toothbrush.
With a plethora of product offerings, Oral-B does not want to miss its target audience. Which is the reason why the brand story of Oral-B is interesting to read from time to time? It’s because of their continuous product advancements, the company’s toothbrushes are still on shelves and recommended by people globally.
For a company which is present in 60 countries, it becomes difficult for them to adopt a global pricing strategy. Oral-B designed pricing policy by keeping in mind middle & upper-class customers.
The company adopts a skimming pricing policy for its products. The company from time to time adopts premium pricing as well and books a profit by selling its innovative and newly launched products at a faster rate.
Later when other brands launch more or less similar products Oral-B adopts a competitive pricing strategy. By doing this, the company makes sure that it’s not giving any of its competitors a chance to take over their market share with new launches.
As we already know the brand story of Oral-B started from a small place in the US, but when the company went into the hands of Gillett, that’s when Oral-B’s strategy changed entirely.
Today, the brand has a huge presence at almost every location where people usually go and shop for the products of their daily needs. From small-small Kirana stores, hypermarkets, supermarkets, malls, and shopping centers, Oral-B brushes are also placed at Dentist’s clinics.
The company has a strong distribution channel that facilitates quick and easy distribution to all their outlets. They also have tie-ups with sales personnel from other companies (outsourcing) to market their products in the consumer market.
All the efforts go waste if the company’s message delivery is not transparent and crystal clear. Thus, promotion is one of the most important P in marketing.
Oral-B brand has adopted both ATL & BTL strategies to promote its products in the consumer market. From ad campaigns, canopies, awareness campaigns, influencer marketing, billboards to everything you can think of as a medium of advertising.
The company has a strong social media presence which they generally use for advertising, rolling out new awareness campaigns from time to time.
In 2013 the company collaborated with Bollywood’s superstar Madhuri Dixit to communicate their campaign #AskMadhuriwithOralB in India. In the same year, Shakira became the brand’s spokesperson. Just imagine on what scale the brand gained its global presence.
Here are some promotional videos coming straight from the company’s creative team that straightaway contributes to the brand story of Oral-B:
Some InfographicAd Campaigns from Oral-B:
Wait, that’s not all. Here are some facts that people hardly know about brand Oral-B. Don’t worry, we have this for you as well.
- That nylon-bristle toothbrush is a descendent of the “chew stick”, a twig with a frayed end of soft fibers that was rubbed against the teeth to clean them. This process of cleaning dates back to 3000 BCE in Egyptian tombs.
- In 1040, periodontist Robert Hutson invented Oral-B toothbrushes. In 1984, Gillette acquired the company which enabled Oral-B to sell its products in the global market.
- Oral-B brushes incorporate features recommended by dental professionals- a long narrow neck for effective brushing of back teeth, a thumb grip, rounded head for greater comfort, and polished, end-rounded bristles to help protect gums and tooth.
- Oral-B’s toothbrushes are used by more dentists and hygienists worldwide than any other toothbrushes.
Amazing isn’t it? How a small and very cliché product – A toothbrush can carry such a huge history. The brand story of Oral-B still has a lot more years to witness.
Who knows, the company might roll out another revolutionary product in the market that no one else did ever before.
On behalf of Next Big Brand, a huge shoutout to Oral-B for taking care of our teeth while we chew our favorite food without fearing tooth decay (or something like that).