A brush with Spider-man

SmithKline Beecham has turned to Marvel Entertainment's webbed warrior, Spider-Man, to bolster sales of its children's Aquafresh oral care line....
February 1, 1996

SmithKline Beecham has turned to Marvel Entertainment’s webbed warrior, Spider-Man, to bolster sales of its children’s Aquafresh oral care line.

The four-month promotion, running through March, marks SKB’s first use of a licensed character to promote its children’s products.

Boxes of Aquafresh Kids toothpaste feature one of three Spider-Man ‘Triple Trouble Cards,’ which form a scene when combined. Character bios, an interactive drawing area, dental care tips and a mail-in order form for a Spider-Man poster are all included inside the boxes. Stand-up tubes feature Spider-Man art and the poster offer. Aquafresh Kids toothbrushes are packaged with a similar design.

The company is supporting the promotion with in-store POP materials that work as shelf talkers and hanging displays.

SKB licensed Spider-Man because of his lasting popularity with both kids and their parents. The current Saturday morning Spider-Man series on the Fox Kids Network is one of the highest rated animated series on TV.

According to Gordon Rosenthal, category promotion manager for oral care at SKB, Aquafresh Kids toothpaste was the only brand in the children’s segment that grew in 1995, with volume share up 13 percent, compared to four percent down for its competitors. Overall, it ranks second to Crest in the kids segment.

Rosenthal believes that licensed character toothbrushes and toothpaste can increase the underdeveloped children’s oral care market. Even with licensed brush sales growing at a rate of about 20 percent in 1995, kids’ toothbrush segments represent only 12 percent and three percent of oral care dollar sales, respectively.

If the promotion proves successful, SKB may consider future promotions involving Spider-Man or other Marvel Entertainment characters.

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