The Dental Marketing Tides Are Changing

Corey Johnson


There are two types of people who watch the Super Bowl: those who watch for the game and those who watch for the commercials. Super Bowl LIV’s commercials certainly did not disappoint either type of viewer this year. Tide laundry detergent still has people talking about its comical depiction of a typical “I-just-got-a-stain-on-my-shirt” situation in its commercials.

What does a dental office have to learn from a detergent brand’s advertising like Tide? The similarities are in the marketing strategy. You can spark conversations to get more patients talking about your practice by taking a few pointers from Tide’s Super Bowl campaign.

Here are four actionable takeaways to apply to your practice’s marketing efforts today.

Shock Value

Your practice doesn’t need to work a Super Bowl commercial into its marketing budget, but there is an element of what Tide did that is repeatable in the dental industry. What was especially brilliant about Tide’s marketing was its use of shock, with Charlie Day seeming to appear in commercials for other products, catching its audience off guard. 

Offering eye-catching promotions or specials is a great place to start when working to create a feeling of shock. Using the element of surprise in your marketing can be as simple as getting people who see your messages to think, “Wow, how could I pass that up?” 

Examples include “FREE teeth whitening” or an image of a patient wearing Invisalign with the caption, “Can you tell I’m wearing braces?” The shock of discovering a good deal or coming to a surprising realization is an excellent way to convert potential patients into returning clients. 


The simplicity of Tide’s Super Bowl LIV message is brilliant. Viewers are able to walk away with a clear understanding of the benefit of using Tide’s laundry detergent. Tide gets stains out, even if you wait until “later.” 

A simple call to action in every marketing message is a key factor to success. An element of simplicity is having only one call to action per advertisement. Let’s say your practice is offering a general cleaning special in March. An email blast could list the dates the special is running, special pricing, your practice’s address, your dentists’ names, your website address, a phone number, and a witty one liner about “share the love, your teeth deserve it.”

However, more is not always more. Instead, less is more here. Your website, special pricing, and a slogan are all great information to include in an email blast, but every method of contacting your practice, the dates the special is running, your address, and your dentists’ bios are probably not necessary to include on the ad itself. This additional information is best found on your website’s contact Information and FAQ page or provided over the phone by your reception staff when a patient inquires further.


Tide’s commercials star Charlie Day as the victim of a pretty serious stain on his shirt. When he is debating when to wash his shirt to remove the stain, he decides on “later.” When is later? Is now later? No, that was earlier. Now is it later? 

The repeated joke throughout the Super Bowl is that the audience knows the time to do laundry is most commonly “later.” The joke keeps coming up as Charlie Day pops up in other brands’ commercials, still wearing his stained shirt, and Tide’s own commercials continue telling the story of when Charlie Day will get the stain out of his shirt. 

Repeating a simple message will help your practice communicate this message to your current and potential patients. Repetition in your dental practice’s marketing can look like using different media with the same message to reach your target audience in a couple different ways. 

For instance, you could post on your website about a teeth whitening special and put the same message about your competitively priced teeth whitening up on Facebook, on in-office flyers, or even in weekly promotional emails. The recurring message may reach potential patients when teeth whitening is not relevant one month, but the next month, their dental insurance may have changed, making it the perfect moment to jump on the particular promotion at your practice.  

What You Didn’t See—Tracking

Tide did not budget for the most expensive advertising space without a plan to track the effectiveness of its efforts. No matter the size of a marketing budget, it is important to collect and use data to analyze what worked and adjust as needed.

Are flyers or social media ads more successful in getting new patients to book appointments? Do more people schedule appointments from seeing a billboard or receiving a personalized email? By tracking how many calls are coming in from each source, and which calls are converting into scheduled appointments, your practice will have visibility into which marketing methods are most effective for your practice.

Your Turn

Your dental practice’s marketing may not be reaching one third of the United States, but you can adopt the effective techniques of global brands like Tide. Creating shock and exercising simplicity in your messages, repeating value points, and tracking the effectiveness of your practice’s marketing efforts are key elements of ads that have the power to influence patients to schedule with your practice. 

Mr. Johnson is a senior account executive at Call Box. Doctors and owners call him to increase their bottom line through enhancing the patient experience over the phone and converting more opportunities. He earned his MBA from the University of Delaware and graduated from the University of North Carolina, where he studied how the power of data can affect organizational change. To learn more about Call Box and our innovative tools to help your practice leverage the phone, visit or call (833) 259-9484.

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