Listerine goes for its own Dove moment with campaign to help blind people ‘feel a smile’

Listerine has created an app that helps blind people ‘feel a smile’ as part of a shift away from talking about oral health.

Listerine wants to engage a younger generation with the pan-European online campaign to bring them something more “thought provoking” than the traditional advertising associated with mouthwash.

The idea behind the activity ties with its most recently launched product, ‘Listerine Advanced White’, which it has previously positioned under the ‘Power of a Smile’ tagline.

“The product engages a younger audience who hadn’t considered mouthwash. So [with the campaign] we wanted to speak to them in a way that was more captivating and engaging,” brand manager Alice Lovell told The Drum.

The activity centres on a mobile app that uses augmented reality and facial recognition technology to help blind people know when someone is smiling at them.

With their phone around their neck, the phone’s camera can detect a smile up to five metres away and notifies the user with sound or with vibration that someone is smiling at them.

A short film called ‘Feel Every Smile’, directed Lucy Walker – who was behind Blindsight, a documentary about a blind mountaineer leading six blind children up a mountain – shows four blind people using the app for the first time.

The app has been endorsed by the RNIB, to ensure it is accessible and functional to blind and partially sighted people, and will be available on iOS and Android.

“The campaign champions the power of a smile and the idea that smiles really do have an effect on those around you. We wanted to take that belief and use it to have a positive impact on people’s lives,” Lovell added.

The activity builds on previous experiments with online video. The brand previously developed a YouTube series on the back of the rising popularity of make-up tutorials, showing how certain colours of lipstick could make your teeth look whiter.

For this latest wave, Listerine plans to invest heavily in Facebook over other social channels in order to reach more eyeballs.

The idea for the app and film came from JWT creative team Will Helm and Will Brookwell.

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