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?)
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.
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