This article was originally published on Unilever and is republished with permission.
20 March is World Oral Health Day. For Signal, this is a focal point for its social mission: getting people to brush day and night. Here’s why it matters.
An urgent issue
Did you know that almost all adults and up to 90% of children worldwide are affected by tooth decay? It’s often seen as a minor complaint – but this is so far from the truth.
Poor oral health is linked to extremely serious, even life-threatening illnesses such as heart disease. It’s also the major cause of school absences in many countries.
In fact, for children, the impact of tooth decay is far-reaching and potentially lifelong. Missing out educationally is just the start of it. It could also lead to a lifetime badly affected by ill health.
A life-changing situation
The good news is that tooth decay is so easily preventable: brushing day and night with a fluoride toothpaste can cut the incidence of cavities by 90%. Signal’s social mission, its purpose and passion, is to get people doing exactly that.
This year’s World Oral Health Day, falling on 20 March, sees the brand bring an exciting new dimension to its efforts to get people brushing day and night.
Its focus will be complementing our existing, highly successful behaviour-change activities with a more personal approach. And the vehicle for that emphasis is Signal’s new mobile-first initiative Little Brush Big Brush, which uses Facebook Messenger to engage kids and parents when they’re about to brush.
From mass events to personal engagement
“Our activities on the last two World Oral Health Days have revolved around mass events and awareness-raising – for example, dental check-ups, pledges, brushing events and conferences,” explains Pau Bartoli, Global Smile Director, Social Mission.
“These have all been fantastically successful, helping us break world records for check-ups and brushing in particular countries – and giving our ongoing social mission efforts a real boost.
“But this year we’re moving in a new direction. The mobile platform we’re using for Little Brush Big Brush helps us connect in a close, personal way with individual families at the moment of brushing, building on our existing success in triggering behaviour change.”
To make this happen, the Signal team will use 20 March to launch Little Brush Big Brush in several key markets: Nigeria, Ghana, Kenya, Mauritius, French West Africa, Chile and Egypt. France will join them later in the year.
The start of a lifetime journey
“We would love 20 March to be the day millions of parents and kids worldwide start their journey towards a lifetime of better oral health,” says Arancha Cordero, VP, Smile. To fully support this intent, the brand team are inviting child and adult vloggers and influencers to join the campaign.
Little Brush Big Brush runs alongside a host of other initiatives carried out by Signal in support of its social mission.
Approaches that get results
For example, Kids Can Change The World is about letting kids spread the word about brushing day and night. The campaign uses one of the most powerful resources we have – kids’ imaginations – to engage whole families in this simple twice-daily practice that could change their lives.
Then there’s Signal’s school programmes, which have been running for 27 years, reaching around 75 million children. An example of our work in schools is Inspire a Class, in which hundreds of Signal team members use the focal point of World Oral Health Day to get out into schools sharing the message.
Signal also continues to partner with the FDI – the World Dental Federation – which represents around a million dentists worldwide. Carrying their logo on Signal packs gives them added visibility while reinforcing our own credibility as an expert partner in improving oral health globally.
Continuity and change
All in all, this World Oral Health Day marks a point of continuity and change for Signal. The brand has already reached its 2020 target of reaching 50 million with its simple, life-changing message.
But Signal’s interests now lie with zooming in to connect as intimately as possible with these consumers – and it’s using the power of digital to kindle these connections.