Crest and OralB Pro-Health. P&G’s first attempt to target the 50+ consumer!

December 30, 2012 | By Kim Walker

P&G is trying to engage the ageing consumer with it’s line of Crest and Oral‐B Pro‐Health For Life dental products “Selected for Aged 50+ Consumers”. According to P&G’s release, this marks the first time that a P&G campaign has been directly marketed to the 50+ population.

I like the age-neutral concept of Pro-Health for Life as portrayed on their website, but it looks like they are falling into the same trap as most brands exploring the ageing consumer in focussing their effort on one aspect of the customer journey and overlooking others.

It seems the line was launched back in September 2012, and given that we had been researching and writing our new book; ‘Marketing to the Ageing Consumer’ around the time, it is probably not a good sign for P&G communications that this slipped under our radar.

According to the company, the Crest and Oral‐B Pro‐Health For Life oral care products defend against dental conditions people over 50 experience including tender inflamed gums, plaque and bad breath. Yet it seems that the company is struggling to justify their product ‘selections’ based on oral hygiene needs specific to ageing consumers, as evident from these descriptors:

  • Crest Pro-Health For Life Rinse. “Selected for people over 50 because it’s alcohol-free and provides a unique sensation”.
  • Crest Pro-Health For Life Toothpaste “selected for people over 50 because it has a smoother formulation and protects all areas dentists check most”.
  • Oral-B Pro-Health For Life Toothbrush “…..selected for people over 50 because it has extra soft bristles”.
  • Oral-B Glide Pro-Health For Life Floss “…..selected for people over 50 because it is Glide’s softest floss”.

These product benefits could be more compelling if better linked to the real needs of older customers.

Aside from these quick observations, an AF (Age-Friendly) Audit would also have revealed weaknesses in the packaging and online experience as well as retail and sales support elements.

The launch was accompanied by a video. The original version uploaded by P&G in September has, as of today’s date, garnered a mere 7,684 views. Paltry for a consumer marketing behemoth like P&G and global brands such as Crest and Oral B.

Perhaps I’m being over-critical but keep in mind P&G is arguably the worlds most advanced marketer, so we should expect them to raise the bar on marketing to ageing consumers.

Despite the criticisms, it is encouraging to see P&G finally put money where it’s mouth is and target the ageing consumer. Kudos for that!


6 Response to “Crest and OralB Pro-Health. P&G’s first attempt to target the 50+ consumer!”

Tiffany Hogan

January 8, 2013 at 18:21 pm

You are right! What terrible marketing. How many boomers are going to choose a product that blatantly announces that they are buying a product for “older” people? I wonder how well they tested the copy.

Kim Walker

January 9, 2013 at 01:46 am

That’s the odd thing. Being P&G one would think they tested this thoroughly. But maybe they thought they knew the market well enough!?

Anne Springer

January 9, 2013 at 14:27 pm

As a marketer, and an over-50 consumer, I find it less than flattering to be categorized in this way. Just tell me why your product is good instead of telling me I’m old. I already know that and am not thrilled to be reminded.

Kim Walker

January 10, 2013 at 02:55 am

Indeed. For this reason we define an age-friendly company as one that; “ensures the unique physical needs of older customers are satisfied in a way that is natural and beneficial to customers of for all ages”. No need to signal the age of the intended customer.

Lila Laprairie

February 15, 2014 at 19:55 pm

The 50 product contains the same ingredients as the other products there is nothing different . False advertising

Kim Walker

February 16, 2014 at 05:53 am

Thanks Lila. Indeed they walk a fine line by using the words “selected” for rather than “created” or “formulated” for 50 plus. I’d be really interested to know how this brand is doing.