Things that Drive me CRAZY About Dental Advertising

Author: Michael McCarthy
Michael McCarthy

Michael McCarthy

As the Chief Dental Geek, Michael McCarthy is the vision behind The Dental Geek blog and its purpose. Well known throughout the dental world, our seasoned geek Michael serves on several industry boards. Keep your eyes out for his popular articles and lists about all the most talked about topics in dentistry.
07.19.10 / 2:28 pm

One of my main goals is to elevate dental marketing and advertising. Manufacturers and marketers alike in the dental industry need to remember that their customers are consumers and can handle clever and evolved marketing messages.

The most common question I get from clients and prospects is: What SHOULDN’T I do in my advertising? Here are a few tips that I routinely give out. If you find yourself including these things in your advertising, maybe you should think twice.

The Most Overused Image in Dental Advertising: The oyster/pearl combo. It’s been done again and again and again. I have conducted many focus groups with dental professionals, and they cannot identify a brand name that owns the pearl imagery. I know that there are not a lot of objects that are white and convey beauty, but enough already with the pearl!

The Beautiful Blonde with a Perfect Smile, I’ll admit, I have used many lovely blonde models in my advertising, but the dental consumer world is one that is not chock-full of beautiful blonde women with perfect smiles that are the result of a super dentist’s heroic work. Let’s borrow a page from the Dove® campaign: real people with real dental issues.

The Dentist as Artist. Yes, many dentists could be considered artists because of the sculpting and painting they perform on their patients’ dentition. As shown by my research, many dentists DO view themselves as artists, but let’s not put them in advertising wielding paintbrushes and palettes; there are better ways to showcase dentistry as a true art.

The Hygienist as Cookie-Baking Mom. I tell ALL of my clients that if I was a contestant on Oral Health Jeopardy, I would choose an RDH over any dentist, specialist or oral pathologist. The RDH is one of the most passionate and knowledgeable health care professionals I have ever worked with. What drives an RDH to explore a new product or procedure? Science, evidence-based fact. I think all marketers should play to the RDH’s intellect; and, by all means, avoid the color purple in your advertising. Check out www.ADHA.org to find out what the new “hot” colors for hygiene are.

The Jam-and-Cram Ad (AKA the Kitchen Sink Ad). Many manufacturers feel compelled to jam all of their products onto one page or into one frame of advertising. FREE! and Buy Two, Get Three FREE! are phrases I believe only play to the stereotype that dentists are cheap, frugal, deal-driven and mindless. I tell many of my clients the cars that dentists usually drive are rarely, if ever, on sale or deeply discounted, they understand prestige brands and prestige pricing.

That’s my two cents, let me know if you agree or disagree.

Michael McCarthy

Michael McCarthy

As the Chief Dental Geek, Michael McCarthy is the vision behind The Dental Geek blog and its purpose. Well known throughout the dental world, our seasoned geek Michael serves on several industry boards. Keep your eyes out for his popular articles and lists about all the most talked about topics in dentistry.

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