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By Audrey Kemp, LA Reporter

November 1, 2022 | 4 min read

‘Closing America’s Smile Gap’ aims to shed light on the grave oral health inequities that exist – and help solve them.

Procter & Gamble-owned dental brands Crest and Oral-B are on a mission to close what they call the ‘Smile gap’ in America, one tube of toothpaste and toothbrush at a time.

‘Closing America’s Smile Gap’ is Crest and Oral-B’s way of shedding light on the painful reality that kids in underserved communities simply don’t get the oral care they need. The ‘Smile gap,’ as coined by the brands, begins every day in the bathrooms of children when they don’t have access to basic tools to brush their teeth, and spreads to their ability to access dental education, access and treatment. In the campaign, children are seen ‘brushing’ their teeth with their finger and water instead of proper oral hygiene tools.

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The two brands strive to ensure that every kid in the US has access to Crest toothpaste and Oral-B toothbrushes, as well as preventative and restorative dental care by pledging to donate materials with every product purchased.

“Crest and Oral-B believe every kid has the right to a healthy smile and the opportunities it brings ... But kids in underserved communities suffer from tooth decay two times more than their peers – that’s a real challenge,” said Carlos De Jesus, senior vice-president, Crest and Oral-B, North America. “We call that the ‘Smile gap’ [and] we are working every day to help close it ... Making sure every kid in the US has what they need to brush their teeth every day is our first step in the journey to closing America’s smile gap. We will keep working towards this for as long as it takes and until everyone cares as much as we do.”

Crest and Oral-B have carried out several mission-driven campaigns before as part of their mission to provide oral care to 20 million smiles in need by 2030. These efforts include donating $2.5m worth of product, hosting 24 local community events for free dental screenings and education in the past year, forming partnerships with 400,000 dental professionals across the country and establishing dental school scholarships for underserved students.

The brands also strive to get their school curriculum surrounding oral care in schools across America, as well as diversify the staff of the dental industry so that children can be treated by people who understand their unique needs.

As part of Publicis Groupe’s PGOne, MSL was the campaign’s lead creative agency, while Saatchi & Saatchi and PXP handled supporting production. The final ad will go live in The New York Times today.

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