The Apprentice Sparks Record Interest in Crest Toothpaste

Posted on by Chief Marketer Staff

An appearance on The Apprentice last week for a new tooth-whitening flavor, delivered more than 4.7 million hits so far to the Crest Web site, the highest level of online interest in a single product launch in parent Procter & Gamble’s history.

The theme of last Thursday’s show revolved around two teams given the task of promoting a new flavor, mint vanilla, in Crest’s Whitening Expressions line. A 15-second spot toward the end of the show talked up the new flavor and prompted viewers to go to to enter an essay contest, which ends Oct. 15. Participants, in 100 words or less, write in about how they would have promoted the new Crest flavor.

The site received 100 ideas a minute in the first 20 minutes after the show ended, an indicator that even a chance to win a trip to a taping of the show was not enough to pry viewers from their seats until they heard the fateful words “You’re Fired.” Even so, more than 20,000 applicants participated in the contest and some 40,000 samples of mint vanilla were requested.

“We’re giving the average viewer an opportunity to voice their armchair opinion of what they would have done on the show,” Ken Zinn, interactive-marketing manager for both Crest toothpaste and toothbrushes, said last week. (Xtra, Sept. 23)

The winner of the contest gets to attend the taping of the final show and a night’s stay at a Trump hotel.

In addition to the TV ad, the contest is supported by online ads and search engine optimization. ePrize, Farmington Hills, MI, handles the contest.

Crest was the second major brand to appear on The Apprentice. In the first episode, the two teams of would-be apprentices had to develop a new toy for Mattel that would test well with young boys. The Mattel logo showed up throughout the show and the prototypes developed by the teams were designed overnight by Mattel. The toy designed by the winning team, a remote-controlled car, will be produced by the toy maker and is expected to hit store shelves early next year selling for $30.

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