Because of bad brushing habits, the majority of people are doing more harm to their teeth than good. To help customers improve their oral hygiene routines, Oral-B developed the SmartSeries, an electric toothbrush with a mobile app that leverages data and technology to communicate with people while they’re brushing. The Smart Brush encourages people to brush for two minutes and alerts them if they are brushing too hard. Oral-B has incorporated professional recommendations into the technology, allowing dentists to input specific instructions using the app and patients to email dentists their data. Since the debut of the SmartSeries in 2014, Oral-B has found that 83 percent of users brush for over two minutes, and 60 percent of brushing sessions leverage reminders using the app.
Objective and Context:
While electric toothbrushes have been around for a while, no one had yet tackled the problem of helping users maximize their benefits by brushing longer, smarter, and better.
People brush only for about 45 seconds on average — far shorter than the dentist-recommended two minutes. They also tend to miss the same spots again and again. The dentist or hygienist might point out this room for improvement at each visit, but patients often forget, and consequently do not follow through to improve their brushing routine at home. Adherence to a better routine is tough without a regular reminder.
At the same time, smartphone penetration is exploding around the world. There are now more mobile phones than toothbrushes in the world. The next generation of Bluetooth technology is now available: Bluetooth 4.0 (also referred to as Bluetooth low energy or Bluetooth smart), which allows automatic pairing and only requires minimal power.
The objective of Oral-B SmartSeries was to improve oral health and wellbeing by using Bluetooth technology to provide a tool that could help people to stay on top of their oral care at home in between dentist visits.
Key performance goals:
The target audience was defined as power toothbrush users. They’re well-educated, affluent, professional men and women living a healthy lifestyle with notable focus on their oral health.
Oral-B developed a strategy that connects hardware (the electric toothbrush) with software (the mobile app) to take brushing teeth to the next level and improve oral care by leveraging data and technology.
The Oral-B App converts users’ physical brushing activity into actionable data. This data is first interpreted into direct, personal, and immediate feedback (e.g., “stop brushing so hard” or “don’t forget to floss”). It is then visualized in a comprehensible way, displaying achievement statistics to help the user keep track of his or her brushing performance and improvements. Users can share their brushing activity with their dentists via e-mail, as a way to track and discuss improvement areas.
The use of data is therefore transforming how consumers experience brushing performance and habits, with a direct, positive impact on consumer behavior.
With the Oral-B SmartSeries and App, tooth brushing changes from being a dull daily routine to a rewarding daily task improving oral health and well-being.
Overall Campaign Execution:
The technology was developed from the ground up and is a true first-to-market innovation by P&G. The app encourages users to brush the recommended two minutes, notifying them if they are brushing too hard, and can actually provide immediate brushing feedback while they are cleaning their teeth and gums. The gathered data includes duration of brushing and over-pressure; daily, weekly, and monthly brushing streaks; and streaks of rinsing, flossing, and tongue cleaning. The data is clearly presented to the users in their individual brushing statistics so they can see how well they are doing and if their brushing habits have improved. To keep motivation up, achievement badges can be collected for good individual brushing behavior over time.
In addition, the app also delivers expert guidance. Dental professionals can program brushing routines into the app to help their patients improve their brushing behaviors and focus on problem zones within the mouth, providing specific brushing and interdental cleaning instructions to follow at home. A patient’s aggregate oral care data provides detailed, previously unavailable information to dentists.
The Oral-B SmartSeries toothbrush and app allow automatic pairing and synchronization of up to 20 brushing sessions. The data is generated without effort and even without using the app all the time.
The mobile app software was designed and developed by iconmobile. The agency collaborated closely with Oral-B on the Bluetooth software-firmware integration. The Bluetooth chipset is provided by a supplier; the Bluetooth firmware was developed by the Braun R&D team (part of P&G). It utilizes two-way communication, with the app receiving brushing data from the Oral-B toothbrush and reporting it back to the user.
Oral-B was the first brand to have a connected electric toothbrush. Results to date of the Oral-B app indicate improved worldwide oral care behavior, meeting the objective of improving oral health and well-being by using Bluetooth technology.
As evident by the widespread adoption and active user community, the target demographic has embraced this tool. The brush is now available in more than 20 markets in western Europe, North America, and Asia. By the end of summer 2015, the brush will be available in nearly 50 global markets. The Oral-B app 3.0 will be available for free in 100 markets on iOS and Android in summer 2015. Both the SmartSeries brush and the app were announced at Mobile World Congress 2014 in Barcelona, with the official launch of both in April 2014. It has since won a Bronze Cannes Mobile Lion in Mobile, Products.