Case Study: How Social Media Landed Orabrush a Walmart Deal

orabrush tongue

Orabrush Spokesman

Orabrush, a little-known company in Utah, makes a $5 tongue cleaning devise that has small business tongues wagging these days. Orabrush recently sealed a 3,500 store distribution deal with Walmart. The company credits its success to a series of wildly successful YouTube videos and a little $28 Facebook ad.

Orabrush is likely the first small business brand ever that used social media to land such a lucrative deal. It’s a fascinating business story, a social media case study worth learning from.

The Challenge:

Dr. Bob Wagstaff, the 75-year-old inventor of Orabrush, tried for nearly a decade to create sales momentum for his tongue cleaners via infomercials. After spending $40,000 in advertising, the he’d only filled 100 orders.

Meanwhile “Dr. Bob” approached CVS, Walgreens, and Walmart about carrying his tongue scraper. He also approached Colgate and Oral-B about buying his patent. None of them were interested.

In 2009, Dr. Bob presented his challenge to a group of marketing students at Brigham Young University. After conducting research, most students in the class advised Dr. Bob that 92 percent of his target customers wouldn’t buy his product online, so forget about relying on the Internet for sales.

But one student, Jeffrey Harmon, saw things differently. Harmon viewed that 8 percent as millions of potential Orabrush customers. Dr. Bob liked Harmon’s thinking; he hired the student to handle PR marketing for Orabrush.

Social Media Idea #1:

Harmon gathered a few friends to help script and record a viral marketing piece. They launched a YouTube video called Bad Breath Test. It was laced with the requisite, edgy humor. However, it effectively underscored that 90 percent of all bad breath can be blamed on a yucky, bacteria saturated tongue. The YouTube crowd got the message, and loved how it had been conveyed.

Today, Orabrush is one of the most-viewed brand channels on YouTube, with 40 million views. A million tongue cleaners were sold online, including to a single Walmart store manager, who liked the product and arranged to sell it in his store.

Not long after that, other local Walmart store managers noticed the impact Orabrush was having, and arranged in-store kiosks and product, too. Dr. Bob and his marketing team knew it was time to approach top brass at Walmart again about wider distribution.

The Big Pitch:

Orabrush sent a customized DVD and sales kits to executives at Walmart’s corporate headquarters. Eager to give their pitch one last pinch, the marketing team again turned to social media to reach their target audience…

Social Media Idea #2:

The marketing team geo-targeted Bentonville, Arkansas – Walmart’s corporate town – for a Facebook ad campaign. The $28 Facebook ad spend delivered this quirky message to the community of Walmart executives:

“Walmart employees have bad breath. Walmart needs to carry Orabrush. It will sell better than anything in your store.”

The Result:

The Facebook ad quickly got the attention of Walmart decision-makers. Two days later, Orabrush received an email with an offer they couldn’t refuse. The retail giant placed its first nationwide order for 735,000 tongue cleaners. (Walmart also asked Orabrush to kindly take down their alarming Facebook ad!)

There’s something in the story that all marketers should take to heart. Social media levels the playing field for small businesses and entrepreneurs, and YouTube and Facebook have the power to transform your sales momentum.

Take the next level in video marketing. Bring a fresh, creative approach to public relations using social media. Your small business brand can start tongues wagging, too.



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