Scope getting fresh with consumers’ virtual breath

Mouthwash is not typically associated with fun viral campaigns, so Dentsu is monitoring how enthusiastically people play along with shtick that rates what their mouths emit - on a scale from 'fragrant' to 'noxious.'

To generate buzz around Scope mouthwash and raise the profile of the product, Procter & Gamble has launched a fun microsite featuring exploding heads and other humorous sight gags. Part of the idea is to assess how well a saucy interactive initiative – backed by PR rather than mass media – works for P&G. The seeding test is particularly targeting the 18-35 demographic, and is skewed toward males.

Dentsu Canada spent a year planning the microsite, which launched earlier this month. It’s designed to reach the young web-browser looking for something a little different and interactive to do online – following a similar thread to the Subservient Chicken site launched by Burger King in 2004.

Site visitors see a man in an elevator. To test the toxicity of their breath, they’re then given the option of breathing into a microphone or typing in the food they’ve eaten most recently. When I typed in ‘onion,’ the man’s head exploded as he held up a bottle of Scope and a breathometer dialed to ‘noxious.’ The clear message: I need to invest in Scope. The virtual man can react in 12 different ways, ranging from removing his nose to foaming at the mouth or sniffing a skunk’s behind.

‘Hopefully, people will play with it and have fun with it,’ explains Michael Gramlow, CD, interactive at Dentsu, ‘and we’ll generate watercooler buzz.’

Alexandra Glover, assistant brand manager for oral care at Toronto-based P&G, believes the campaign is ideal for capturing the interest of Scope’s target because ‘the younger demographic are image-conscious, experimental consumers.’

The campaign will not be supported by any mainstream media, but by youth-friendly blogs, distribution lists and viral streams. Traditional media simply doesn’t hold the same appeal to the youth of today, according to Glen Hunt, creative catalyst at Dentsu.

‘We’re constantly having information pushed at us,’ he explains. ‘The interactivity of this campaign allows the consumer to become part of the message, which has a far stronger pull.’ He adds that Dentsu is already in talks with P&G about creating a similar site for another of their oral health products in the Scope range, this time targeting the young female consumer.