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The Expert in Baby Boomer Travel

Travel Copywriter

On a recent trip to Europe, I carried a 3-ounce travel-size tube of toothpaste from Tom’s of Maine — a size that’s OK with the TSA to get through their “liquids” screening process at the airport. (“OK With the TSA” — a possible slogan?)

Tom's of Maine toothpaste in the "grab-and-go" three-ounce travel size. Photo by Clark Norton

Tom’s of Maine toothpaste in the “grab-and-go” three-ounce travel size. Photo by Clark Norton

The Tom’s had a nice “fresh mint” taste for freshening breath; it’s said to whiten teeth “naturally,” to contain no artificial ingredients, dyes, preservatives or sweeteners, and to help remove plaque with regular brushing; it’s made with no animal testing; and the 40-year-old company gives 10 percent of profits back to the community to promote “human and environmental goodness,” always a hit with baby boomer travelers.

(Actually, it never occurred to me that toothpaste might be tested on animals — canine canines? monkey molars? chimp incisors? — but maybe that’s a subject for further investigation.)

Best of all, from a practical standpoint, the Tom’s “grab-and-go”-sized tube held about four times the amount of toothpaste than the .75 ounce tubes of Colgate I usually carry on trips (and always seem to run out of if I don’t pack more than one). After a week across the pond, I even brought some home.

And at my recent dental check-up, all was OK with my hygienist, too.

So I would certainly consider carrying Tom’s again on my next trip. But I’m not writing this today to endorse their toothpaste.

Instead, I’d like to compliment their marketing strategy.

The reason I was carrying Tom’s is that one of their savvy P.R. representatives sent me a free 3-ounce tube in the mail in hopes that I would write about their new travel-sized product.

And it worked!

Travel bloggers, it seems, are a hot commodity these days. As a group, we reach millions of potential travelers.

I have no idea how many 3-ounce tubes Tom’s has distributed to bloggers and other travel writers, but based on the number of emails — at least a half dozen — that I’ve received asking whether I would like to try the toothpaste, whether or not I liked it after I tried it, and if so when I might write about it, the P.R. agency is moving aggressively to promote it.

Frankly, I would find it very difficult to work a reference to Tom’s toothpaste into a print travel article — unless the topic were very specific, such as “Small Personal Care Items You Can Successfully Get Past the TSA, Not to Mention That Involve No Animal Testing, Etc.” — nor, I like to think, could I be bought off for a $3 tube of toothpaste (well, $2.99 at Whole Foods, I’m told). Now a whole case of toothpaste…(just kidding, of course!).

But it would be pretty easy for travel bloggers to work such references into their posts — “As I was brushing my teeth with the new “grab-and-go”-sized Tom’s of Maine toothpaste, handy for passing through airport security in the U.S. and at the same time freshening my breath and removing plaque, I suddenly realized my Orient Express train was pulling into Venice, right on schedule…” — so it would be interesting to know how well this promotion has worked.

From Tom’s standpoint, it would seem that mailing off several dozen (hundred? thousand?) 3-ounce tubes of toothpaste to travel bloggers would constitute a pretty small investment for the potential product mentions they could get in return.

So kudos to the P.R. firm for creativity — and to Tom’s for leaving the preservatives out, the animals alone, and the TSA happy.


Be sure to download my free report, “How to Ride the Coming Wave of Boomers,” available here. It’s all about the best ways to market travel to baby boomers — the biggest-spending group of travelers the world has ever seen.

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According to government and private surveys:

  • Leading-edge baby boomers (born between 1946 and 1955) and seniors account for four out of every five dollars spent on luxury travel today.
  • Roughly half the consumer spending money in the U.S.--more than $2 trillion--is in the hands of leading-edge baby boomers and seniors.
  • Baby boomers (born 1946-1964) travel more than any other age group.
  • When asked what they would most like to spend their money on, baby boomers answered “travel” more than any other category, including improving their health or finances.

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