AdTurds Bad Adverts – Badverts

30Mar/146

Toothpaste adverts – a load of old bollocks?

toothpaste advert

There's a basic template from which these toothpaste / toothbrush adverts don't stray far. Celebrity dentists, bad dubbing, actors pretending to be members of the public and extraordinary claims about how our teeth will fall out if we don't switch from Colgate to Aquafresh to Sensodyne or back immediately. And floss. And rinse out or mouths with Listerine. And chew sugar-free gum. And stop eating fruit.

Thing is, all of these adverts have some extraordinary claim about how 30 million people in the country have gum disease. This doesn't make me throw out my toothbrush and current toothpaste, however, it simply makes me doubt the efficacy of these toothpastes. What's more, how come I have to select whether I want to whiten my teeth, stop my gums receding, prevent cavities or fight plaque - how come I can't do all of them with one toothpaste?

I don't doubt the effects of not looking after one's teeth - I didn't get my first filling until I was in my 30s - but I've started to wonder whether there's any difference whatsoever between toothpastes. And what other product out there are we told to buy with such frequency that we can't possibly comprehend? Even if you don't understand how a combustion engine works, you can probably gauge whether the more expensive stuff (high-octane petrol and the like) is worth it from how often you have to fill up. Food and drink - you can disregard the cost on the basis that you have a preference. Finance, insurance, all that jazz? Crunch the numbers.

With toothpaste, toothbrushes, oral hygiene it's a leap of faith. You choose to buy a brand of toothpaste depending on whether you believe the claims in the adverts or not. None of us would know if the whole thing wasn't a gigantic swizz. And the adverts are what make me suspicious.

With deodorants, shaving products, skin creams - things that play on our vanity and desire to conform - advertising has upped the ante. They spend huge sums of cash trying to encourage us to buy their products that are increasingly absurd. Claims about new 'technology' and biological jargon are designed to wow us into parting with cash for stuff we could not possibly need. Again, we stake our faith in the claims of adverts, celebrities and brands - because we have no way of determining the truth of their claims. Look into the survey samples and there are some startlingly weak claims being made.

What's more the fact that toothpaste companies actively engage pester power - aiming adverts directly at children - concerns me. The parallels here, with junk food, sweets and Disney, hardly casts the oral hygiene industry in a flattering light. I still remember the day Macleans came to out school to give us free toothbrushes and hand out Macleans stickers - Dan Decay was my favourite - and convince us to buy their toothpaste. Extraordinary when you think about it.

The similarity to what I'd call bad advertisers - the ones that aim themselves at vulnerable demographics and make ambiguous, hard-to-comprehend claims - in the way oral hygiene companies advertise their wares to use makes me suspicious. Suspicious enough to spend some time trying to decipher these claims. So, be warned, toothpaste vendors, I'm calling you out. Unless all my teeth fall out first.

Filed under: Uncategorized Leave a comment
  • Kenlin Bros

    I saw one the other day which I thought must be a parody. It said “For people whose mouths bleed when they brush” or some such shit completely deadpan as the slogan.

    I sort of want to go to war with Russia because I think that the sort of people who make adverts and think that adverts aren’t awful would be the same sort of people who would die in their droves while I hide.

  • Kenlin Bros

    I saw one the other day which I thought must be a parody. It said “For people whose mouths bleed when they brush” or some such shit completely deadpan as the slogan.

    I sort of want to go to war with Russia because I think that the sort of people who make adverts and think that adverts aren’t awful would be the same sort of people who would die in their droves while I hide.

  • Pat Pettett

    Personal disfavourite are the sensodyne ones, with the fake “real” wonky camera.. As if they don’t have decent ad budget or it’s filmed on the fly. I take crappy iPhone films for my work and I can hold the camera straight- nobody is fooled…
    Oh hang on…

  • Pat Pettett

    Personal disfavourite are the sensodyne ones, with the fake “real” wonky camera.. As if they don’t have decent ad budget or it’s filmed on the fly. I take crappy iPhone films for my work and I can hold the camera straight- nobody is fooled…
    Oh hang on…

  • Pat Pettett

    My personally most hated are sensodyne, with the infuriating moving camera held at an angle trying to imply that this is somehow real…

  • Pat Pettett

    My personally most hated are sensodyne, with the infuriating moving camera held at an angle trying to imply that this is somehow real…

Hate adverts?

This is the one chance you’ll ever get to fight back against terrible adverts. For once, the boot can be on the other foot. Deliver it to the knackers of evil – and hit the buttons below.

Still here?

You should definitely sign up below. Every extra follower makes Gladstone Brookes unhappy.