CAMPAIGN POSTER ADVERTISING AWARDS 1998: Effectiveness Award, Sponsored by the Council of Outdoor Specialists and the Outdoor Advertising Association




Colgate’s ’red’ poster campaign has made the brand stronger than it was

when using TV alone. Heavier exposure to the posters in the London

region has built stronger brand imagery and helped drive consumer

penetration and loyalty.

The posters have contributed to higher sales and share in the London

region and to lower growth of own-label brands. The ’red’ campaign has

created approximately three times more profit than it cost.

In 1994, Colgate learned that Sainsbury’s planned to launch a new oral

care range. As the best-selling brand, Colgate had the most to lose.

The relationship housewives have with Colgate had become mostly

emotional; it was not believed to make a material difference to their

families’ dental health. Consumers were likely to give the new

Sainsbury’s products a try, thinking ’all toothpastes are pretty much

the same’. So the strategy was to increase loyalty by making mothers

more aware of the importance of choosing the best toothpaste in order to

protect their families’ teeth.

The target audience was defined as all housewives aged 25-44, especially

those who might be tempted by the new own-label range.

The creative proposition was that Colgate is the better protector.

Posters were selected for two key reasons. First, the campaign was based

initially on dentists’ endorsements of Colgate and this message could

not be communicated on TV as the Independent Television Commission rules

out professional endorsement. Second, posters were an unused medium in

this category, so this provided an opportunity to take a higher ’share

of mind’ against the brand’s competitors.

The campaign has run from 1995 to date. It achieved recognition scores

of 49 per cent - an exceptionally high figure. Correct attribution was

81 per cent (the personal care category average is only 33 per


Research suggests that the posters have communicated strategic brand

messages - not just increased saliency.

Heavier poster exposure led to stronger Colgate brand imagery in


Consumer penetration grew at a slightly faster rate in London but

loyalty grew much more, reflecting the strategy.

In keeping with these improvements, sales and share grew more strongly

in London while own-label growth has been slower. Sales of Colgate

through Sainsbury’s increased following the own-label launch - for the

first time, Colgate’s sales exceeded pounds 1million a month. Share

losses have been diverted to other brands.

The extra Colgate sales in London are not due to heavier promotions,

lower price, increased distribution, heavier PR or lower competitive

activity.Taking the incremental gains of the poster upweight as being

sales above share performance in the rest of the country, the posters

paid for themselves three times over.


Title: Colgate ’red’ campaign: dentist’s drill, dental practice, tools

of the trade, open wide

Client: Ric Lovell, marketing director, Colgate Palmolive

Agency: Young & Rubicam

Board Account Planner: Kathy Wood

Media Planner: Selina Firth

Account Director: Lynn Bentley

Creative Director: Mike Cozens

Art Directors: Graeme Norways, Majella Lewis

Copywriters: Paul Catmur, Rob Porteus

Typographer: Christian Tunstall

Illustrators: James Marsh, Paul Slater

Outdoor Specialist: Concord

Printers: Bovince, St Michael’s Press, Posterprint

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