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Marketing Management : Pepsodent Game Changer

Cue-and-reward psychology

A Case study of how change in Habit, a need or craving created a successful campaign.

United States were not a good dental hygiene country in early twentieth century. there were concerns of people's health and security risk. Either the users were not aware of them or they simply did not mind. it was not in the general practice of common people in US. Charles Duhigg wrote a book called The Power of Habit: Why We Do What We Do in Life and Business. wherein he mentions about how a sustained ad can create a product awareness and greater goal of cultivating a good habit of dental hygiene, the adman was the Marketing Legend Claude Hopkins. As per the book by Duhigg, Hopkins had a friend who wanted his help in marketing his new idea of toothpaste - Pepsodent. he believed in his product and that there is a huge marketing opportunity for it and help him draft a national promotional campaign. There was definitely a market due to processed foods having more sugar and processed food.

Though initially Hopkins showed very little interest, though he had helped build big brands in US and made them household name, like Quaker Oats, Goodyear as it would not be so successful since no one was brushing their teeth. he only agreed on the share of profit. so in next 5 years, there was sustained campaign mastermind by Hopkins. within few years post the first campaign, the market study indicated that toothbrushing had become a ritual for majority of American population. Hopkins is credited to create, cultivate and establish dental hygiene as a habit. 

The success of the campaign is in the carrot and stick - cue and reward psychology of the user. This psychology is so important, that he has mentioned in his book, that it triggers the best way of reaching out and making your product and campaign successful. These are used extensively by gaming company, food company, food distribution company, education portals, courier, mobile phones, you name it..  Principle works on the craving for the reward. that is the shining teeth, the cue is bad breath and teeth. The same way the other successful campaign works, the cue and reward system works every time. While researching for the campaign Hopkins found a word "Film", He said, “ That gave me an appealing idea. 

" I resolved to advertise this tooth paste as a creator of beauty. To deal with that cloudy, yellow film.” Hopkins used his discovery and decided that the ‘film’ as a cue could trigger a habit. With that, the Advertisements and posters were plastered in US with Pepsodent ads with "“ Note how many pretty teeth are seen everywhere. Million are using a new method of teeth cleansing. Why would any woman have dingy film on her teeth? Pepsodent removes the film.”. The Campaign told why you should try Pepsodent, but he did not attempt to sell them. The company offered a free 10-day usage trial .Known for the first time to try and remove the fear or risk in user. to build confidence in user and also the makers are sure of their product.

"You wonder where the yellow went, 

when you brush your teeth with Pepsodent! "

This was a massive success, the company could not keep up the the demand, and pepsodent become a household name.

Questions for MBA Students:

1. What do you understand by Cue-and-reward psychology of user. give an example of any other product which has a massive customer acceptance and changed the overall consumption pattern.

2. What according to Hopkins was the cue here?

3. What did Pepsodent do to remove the fear of usage of user

4. Why do you think the average customer decided to fill his/cabinet with pepsodent tube?

5. How can you create/change the customer habit?

The above blog is a result of various notes on the subject in internet, the writer acknowledges that some inputs were taken for research for following links and this blog is for education purpose and not for commercial purpose.

Lakshminarasimman V Rao | Marketing Management| Corporate Neeti Consulting | Mysuru

All data above is a combination of data from Internet, purpose of this doc is for research and education only and responses received from Class students and interaction.

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