Word-of-mouth advertising has always been a reliable way to grow a business, albeit a slow one. But in the age of the internet, word of mouth can really move, especially if you have the right mouth doing the talking.
Few companies know that better than Orabrush.
Created by Dr. Robert Wagstaff in 2000, Orabrush is a patented, FDA-approved tongue cleaner designed to help cure bad breath using a combination of ultra-soft, pointed bristles that reach deep into the tongue and a unique scraper to remove bacteria.
Bad breath is a major concern for millions of people, but the Provo, UT-based company wasn’t successful getting the products into stores. So company officials turned to social media marketing.
Orabrush’s online campaign kicked off in 2009 with its original “Bad Breath Test” video, which featured Craig Austin, a.k.a. the “Orabrush Guy.” Two years later, that original video has tallied had more than 16 million views.
In fact, Orabrush now boasts more than 45 million YouTube video views and is the third most-subscribed sponsor channel on YouTube (behind Old Spice and Apple). And the brand also has 300,000-plus Facebook fans.
Orabrush’s tongue cleaner and the new Orabrush Tongue Foam powered by Orazyme work together to battle bad breath
This beehive of followers has helped Orabrush find its way from a handful of stores in Utah at the end of 2010 to 20,000 drug stores, supermarkets, discount stores and supercenters worldwide, including more than 100 countries in the past year alone.
“The growth we have had as a company over the past two years has been truly amazing, and it is due almost entirely to our focus on using the internet to propel us forward,” said Jeff Davis, CEO of Orabrush. “The internet has changed every aspect of how people consume media and advertising, and the old methods and tactics just don’t work as well anymore. Our ‘reverse marketing’ model has helped us reach a huge, untapped audience and opened a lot of doors that had previously been closed.”
Orabrush is building more than a social media presence—it is also building its product roster. In late 2011, the company rolled out the Orabrush Tongue Foam powered by Orazyme.
Dr. Fresh, the company behind Orazyme, had formulated a solution in an effort to cure dry mouth. The two firms linked up as the product turned out to be a great weapon in battling bad breath as well as dry mouth.
The enzyme-infused foam works with the company’s tongue cleaner to help eliminate bad breath. The applicator is similar to the pumps used with hand soap dispensers; it turns the Orazyme liquid—a formula of seven all-natural enzymes—into a foam.
Why a foam? Well, that was the word on the street, so to speak.
“Honestly it was our fans who first gave us the idea,” said Austin. “We had countless comments on YouTube and Facebook asking if there was something they could put on the Orabrush to make it even better, just like we use toothpaste for a toothbrush.
Toothpaste wouldn't work on the Orabrush—it's too thick and would gum up the soft bristles. Liquid wouldn't work either—it just runs off. We did someresearch, and found that a foaming solution would stay on the brush without obstructing the bristles.”
While the company wouldn’t release specifics on sales performance, Orabrush saw “200% growth in 2011,” according to Austin, who knows exactly who to thank for the firm’s skyrocketing success.
“Engaging our fans and users online is core to our business. We can find out what consumers want immediately, instead of waiting for a market research firm to charge us a fortune to come to the same conclusions. We can know what color they want, what stores they want to see the products in, and even what new products we should be working on—like tongue foam,” he said. “It really is a two-way conversation, and we work hard to keep it that way. Consumer advocates like we have are worth every effort. It's because of them that we've been so successful.”