Sure, Fine, Listerine Is A Lifestyle Brand Now

Image courtesy of Mike Mozart

When you think of Listerine, or of any mouthwash, what comes to mind? Anything at all? That’s the challenge in marketing oral care products: people are bored with hearing about our gum health and being shamed for our bad breath, and how else can you market mouthwash? Listerine has found a way: by marketing their product as a lifestyle.

We’re all familiar with lifestyle marketing, even if we don’t know exactly what to call it. Lifestyle marketing focuses not necessarily on products, but on the kind of people who use that product. One of my favorite examples is this 1997 ad for the highly caffeinated soft drink Surge.

Yeah, they talk about how the beverage has a flavor and plenty of “carbos,” but this ad actually says that Surge is a drink for the kind of people who would set up a bunch of old couches in an alley for an impromptu hurdle race. The ad is about the kind of people who use this product, not about the product.

AdAge tells us today that Listerine is using this concept to market their mouthwash, based on market research to figure out how people all over the world who use their product differ from people all over the world who don’t. Their answer: Listerine users are bolder. Bolder?

The executive creative director of the ad agency that created this campaign explained that they found a pattern among Listerine users worldwide: they “have a little more edge than non-Listerine users.” This probably isn’t because of the antiseptic mouthwash, but might say something about people who prioritize their oral health or can tolerate the medicinal flavor of their original product.

People who used Listerine said that they were more likely to have adventures involving new sports or travel. Apparently, they’re more daring when it comes to food, which led to a slightly disturbing ad for the Asian market where a woman gnaws on dried squid and chomps on ice, confident in her strong teeth. Okay.

Listerine Looks to Become a Lifestyle Brand [AdAge]