Dynamic Marketing Communiqué

The SWEETEST treat! Here’s how one campaign revitalized the habit of brushing one’s teeth after eating! [Thursdays: Gorillas of Guerrilla Marketing]

April 28, 2022

Miles Everson’s Business Builder Daily speaks to the heart of what great marketers, business leaders, and other professionals need to succeed in advertising, communications, managing their investments, career strategy, and more. 

A Note from Miles Everson:

I love Guerrilla Marketing!

As someone who’s been working in the business and consulting industries for 30+ years now, I’ve seen how this marketing strategy works wonders for a brand, especially when executed properly. 

Guerrilla marketing campaigns are fun, engaging, unique, attention-grabbing, and sometimes inexpensive. If you think this strategy is appropriate for your brand, we recommend you to try it. This will help boost your engagement rates and expand your brand’s reach!  

Allow us to share with you a “sweet” guerrilla marketing campaign in today’s article. 

Keep reading to know how one brand captured its target market’s attention and communicated its message about the importance of valuing one’s oral hygiene. 

Miles Everson
CEO, MBO Partners
Chairman of the Advisory Board, The I Institute

Gorillas of Guerrilla Marketing 

Colgate is an oral hygiene brand of toothpastes, toothbrushes, mouthwashes, and dental flosses. 

Manufactured by the Colgate-Palmolive Company, the brand gained popularity in the 1950s through the slogan: 

“It cleans your breath while it cleans your teeth.” 

Until today, the Colgate-Palmolive Company continues to distribute and sell Colgate products in different countries. 

The goal? 

To make oral healthcare easily accessible to consumers around the world! 

Something SWEET to Smile About 

In a past Gorillas of Guerrilla Marketing article, we featured one of Colgate’s unconventional marketing strategies to capture its target market’s attention, particularly children. 

There, we highlighted how the brand cleverly used toothbrush-shaped popsicle sticks to leave a lasting and impactful impression on sweet-toothed people. 

Today, we’ll be talking about another one of the brand’s unconventional marketing campaigns. It’s called… 

The “Sweetest Treat” campaign

Executed in January 2014 with the help of Y&R San Juan advertising agency, Colgate’s “Sweetest Treat” campaign focused on revitalizing the habit of brushing one’s teeth after eating—especially after eating sweets like candies and chocolates. 

Here’s the context of the brand’s one-month long guerrilla marketing campaign: 

According to Y&R San Juan’s Executive Creative Director Sylvia Soler, it’s rare to see advertising campaigns that target dental health in adults. Most of the time, it’s always addressed to children. 

Recall some of the toothpaste commercials you watched on TV or on social media. You’ll notice that most of these ads only featured kids. Some even used sweet-sounding, kiddie jingles to attract the younger demographic’s attention. 

Soler said ads of this type are odd. According to her, these ads give viewers an assumption that if you aren’t a regular tooth brusher by the time you reach adulthood, all hope is lost. 

… but not so with Colgate’s “Sweetest Treat” campaign, which targeted young, on-the-go adults! 

How did the brand appeal to the interests of these consumers in Puerto Rico? 

Through vending machines (for the campaign team, these are great tools to promote oral hygiene)! 

Colgate coordinated with existing machine operators in various locations in Puerto Rico. They rewired the snack dispensers to drop FREE toothpaste tubes with every sweet treat purchased from the machine. 

Awesome, right? 

Those who bought products from the reprogrammed vending machines appreciated the “sweet” gesture from the toothpaste brand. 

They also received a message from Colgate saying, “Don’t forget to brush!” 

This gentle reminder popped out on the LED screens of machine dispensers whenever a “sweet” purchase was made. Then, to capture consumers’ reactions, the campaign team installed hidden cameras near the vending machines. 

The recorded footage was edited and compiled into a one-minute YouTube video. This reached online users from different parts of the world. 

Was Colgate’s “Sweetest Treat” campaign effective? 

It’s fun to add the unexpected into the everyday lives of consumers. In this campaign’s case, people weren’t expecting anything to happen at the vending machine beyond what they knew would happen: A sweet treat. 

So, when they received a free Colgate toothpaste along with what they bought, the surprise became a minty surge of marketing power that left a lasting impression on them! 

These were the results of the brand’s guerrilla marketing strategy: 

  • The campaign video garnered 14,500+ views on YouTube 2 weeks after it was posted. 
  • Over 10,000 Colgate toothpastes were dispensed from the vending machines during the duration of the campaign. 
  • The brand activation was added into AdSpot’s Advertising Archive under the “Ambient Marketing” category. 
  • A post-campaign survey showed that 57% of those who received a free Colgate toothpaste appreciated the “sweet” gesture. They said they were likely to purchase products from the brand after experiencing the campaign. 

Great job, Colgate and Y&R San Juan! You deserve a round of applause for creating a strategic and “sweet” guerrilla marketing tactic. 


Marketing campaigns that highlight a good cause captivate consumers’ attention. These show people that a brand is committed to making its target market’s lives better or making the world a better place. 

Think about it in the perspective of Colgate’s “Sweetest Treat” campaign: By associating its marketing strategy with sweetness and smiles, the brand made itself an advocate of good dental hygiene. 

What’s more? 

The brand’s don’t-forget-to-brush message didn’t sound like a rude or forceful reminder to consumers! 

By dispensing toothpastes along with purchased sweets, Colgate conveyed the message that it’s okay to eat candies and chocolates for as long as you maintain good oral hygiene—brushing your teeth, flossing, using a mouthwash, etc. 

Get inspired with Colgate’s “Sweetest Treat” campaign! 

With a purposeful guerrilla marketing tactic, your brand can also be a channel of positivity that fosters “sweet” and healthy smiles for your target market. 

(This article is from The Business Builder Daily, a newsletter by The I Institute in collaboration with MBO Partners.) 

About The Dynamic Marketing Communiqué’s
“Thursdays: Gorillas of Guerrilla Marketing”

Jay Conrad Levinson (1984) said that Guerrilla Marketing “works because it’s simple to appreciate, easy to execute, and inexpensive.”

Guerrilla Marketing is unconventional.

Looking beyond the traditional ways of advertising, marketers, and advertisers need to spice things up in order for their brand to have campaigns that not only make an impact but also stick to their target market’s mind.

Guerrilla Marketing usually aims to have direct contact with consumers.

This type of direct contact should spark an emotional reaction that leads to consumers effectively remembering the brand.

It’s about making a big impression and making that impression last a long time (if not forever).

Guerrilla Marketing can be inexpensive.

The effect of this is being able to create a buzz around the brand, and the strategy used to market it. Almost everything is passed around through word-of-mouth.

Word-of-mouth is one of the greatest outcomes and it usually doesn’t cost anything.

This is every business’ or brand’s dream!

Every Friday, we publish tips, examples, and other useful content on unconventional ways of marketing and promotion.

Learn more about how to grab your target market’s attention and make an amazing first and lasting impression without having to spend a lot of money.

Businesses don’t really need to spend much for a guerrilla campaign. You do not need a big budget to be successful. You just need creativity and a good imagination.

Hope you’ve found this week’s guerrilla marketing insight interesting and helpful.

Stay tuned for next Thursday’s Gorillas of Guerrilla Marketing!


Kyle Yu 
Head of Marketing 
Valens Dynamic Marketing Capabilities 
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