If you think your product can’t be sampled on the streets, think again. Oral care company Hello is tackling the private act of teeth brushing (or lack thereof) by tapping into the on-demand service trend with its newly launched electric scooter-based mobile brushing service “Spyt,” currently in trials in New York City. The scooter has a fully functional, tile-lined sink—complete with a toothbrush, several flavors of toothpaste, mouthwash and floss—mounted on the back of each bike.
Company research revealed that 30 percent of millennials admitted to brushing their teeth just once a day, with some disclosing they’d gone more than two days without a brushing session. So, Hello decided to bring a clean sink and the tools needed to make it happen more frequently to them.
“A big eye opener for us is that people have been sleepwalking through their oral care routine for a long time, and we really need people to wake up and think about it a little bit differently,” says Amy Calhoun Robb, vp-marketing at Hello. “We thought about the obstacles. Some of it is, you just don’t have access to a sink. They’re out and about on the go and don’t have a toothbrush. That’s one [part of] the genesis of how this came to be.”
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To keep the process fresh and clean, drivers sanitize the sink after each session and serve as brand ambassadors urging consumers to give it a whirl. In the future, consumers will be able to sign up for the service, but it’s invite-only while in test mode. The scooters have also visited cafés and events, inviting random passersby to give it a try.
“I can pass out samples of toothpaste easily, but people are going to have to take that home, and maybe throw it in their bag and it gets lost,” says Robb. “But this is a way where people have the opportunity to experience the product right then and right there, with all the tools they need.”
Robb admits that it’s a little odd to be asked to brush your teeth in public, and that not everyone is immediately game to make such a private activity public. “There is this sort of moment of hesitation of, ‘You want me to do what?’ But what we have found is that once you get one person to try it, people see it and go, ‘What’s that, what’s going on?’ … It’s about, how do we get that conversation going, get people excited about the brand and what we’re doing.”
Thus far, Spyt has been most successful where people are congregating in larger groups, outside of coffee shops, restaurants and bars—an insight which has led to the brand’s next step of appearing at festival spaces. In the meantime, interested consumers can sign up on the website’s “Spyt List” (not joking) to be notified when the service comes to new markets.
The program points to a growing trend in the experiential marketing space around sampling personal care and wellness products in public settings, from mobile bathrooms to mobile showers to a pop-up leg shaving bar.
“We’re now seeing a lot of folks provide their products in locations where people may be, where you’re going to want to engage in those things,” Robb says. “It’s just a question of how to do it in a way that’s fun and engaging and gets people’s attention.” Agencies: Humanaut, Chattanooga, TN (advertising and production); Fancy Rhino, Chattanooga, TN (post-production); Junction 37 (media).