Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Calling All Novelty-Seekers: Crest Wants You to Be Adventurous

At the dawn of the Millennial Age, a marketing and retailing expert at NYU, Elizabeth Hirschman, wrote a paper called Innovativeness, Novelty Seeking, and Consumer Creativity. One element connecting all three behaviors is how quickly and enthusiastically consumers embrace new products. Entire markets have been segmented using the variable of novelty-seeking--tourism, for example.
Now Procter & Gamble is targeting novelty-seekers--consumers who want to experience the new new thing--with its line of dessert-flavored toothpastes. P&G calls this target market "experiential consumers."

Above, Crest's photo of the three new flavors, including Be Adventurous: Mint Chocolate Trek, Be Inspired: Vanilla Mint Spark, and Be Dynamic: Lime Spearmint Zest. You can follow the adventure at Crest's "Be" site here.

No "plain vanilla" flavors in this line: The names are bold, playful, evocative of a flavor adventure (or inspiration or dynamic experience) every time users brush their teeth. And after years of using mint, bubble gum, or cinnamon toothpaste, maybe Millennials, in particular, are ready for some novelty and adventure.

Business Week wonders whether this is innovation or desperation. The Wall Street Journal notes that the chocolate flavor is an attention-getter, especially for consumers with a sweet tooth. And judging by the widespread media attention to these new flavors, the Journal is probably right. Check out Crest's Facebook page, which is already set up to support the new product introduction (with coupons and more).

Consumers will vote with their wallets. I'm guessing that novelty-seekers will try their favorite flavor once. After that? Well, they're novelty-seekers for a reason.

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