Listerine touts ‘efficacy and benefits’ to woo new consumers with digital, OOH ads

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Listerine is looking to get people who don’t currently use mouthwash to start doing so with its latest marketing effort. The brand, from parent company Johnson & Johnson, is dedicating 60% of its ad spend to digital efforts with a focus on Facebook and Instagram as well as out-of-home advertising.

The campaign is not only using a digital focus in its advertising push but retailer promotions and shopper engagement. It also introduced new clinical data from Johnson & Johnson Consumer Health to consumers as the company conducted two long-term studies on more than 350 subjects with various stages of gingivitis to show the effectiveness of the product. Listerine is now touting that data in its latest ads.

“The new claim and supporting data allow Listerine to set a new standard for oral care, enabling meaningful engagement with consumers to disrupt behavior and add Listerine to their oral care routine,” said Kamran Shahzad, commercial director of oral care brands, Listerine.

In addition to helping to reduce plaque and gingivitis, the campaign’s research shows mouthwash to be an essential part of a complete oral care program. TV spots will run until the end of the year. While Doner Advertising developed the campaign, additional support was provided by Hunter Public Relations and J3media, the company’s media agency.

“This superior plaque reduction messaging will come to life in store at CVS, Walgreens, Rite-Aid and our food retailers, through shelf trays, in-store signage, in-store kiosks and/or display pallets — and digitally across retailers’ websites,” said Shahzad as he talked about the out-of-home element of the campaign.

Listerine initially focused on Facebook and Instagram for social media ads as it allows them to be precise with targeting core consumers. In phase two of launch later this fall, the brand plans to expand to more social channels like TikTok and Pinterest. “Our hope for the future is that consumers become aware of our new science and superior plaque reduction and recognize the importance of adding Listerine to their overall oral care routine,” Shahzad said.

It is different from its previous campaign, which was a series of three short films that emphasized the benefits of good oral health throughout Ramadan. That said, the brand’s overall strategy has not changed. “Our strategy has not shifted from the previous campaign, as we continue to focus on Listerine’s efficacy and the benefits Listerine provides,” said Shahzad.

It is unclear how much of Listerine’s advertising budget is allocated to this campaign, as Shahzad would not share overall budget specifics. According to Kantar data, Listerine spent over $23 million so far on advertising efforts. Shahzad said for this ad spot, 60% of total ad spend went to digital — half was spent on social media and half on display advertisements. Shahzad declined to comment on where the rest of the ad spend went along with how much the digital spend was on its previous campaign.

A number of brands took to OOH during the post-pandemic period, including Listerine. The eco-friendly hand sanitizing provider Shimmy also offered dispensers at Gillette Stadium (home of the New England Patriots).

“This campaign hits on two critically important ‘must-haves’ in today’s post-Covid world,” said Steven Amato, founder and CEO of Contend, an L.A.-based creative studio. “It’s highly relevant and presents the value proposition in a very easy-to-understand manner. Relevancy is on the path to trust that begins with people paying attention. This campaign hits a universal pain point of being “germ-free.”

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