Monday, November 21, 2011

Chance Meeting In Aisle Eight

I ran into an old friend at Walgreens the other day. It was while contemplating a cornucopia of stuff in the toothpaste aisle that my gaze fell on the bottom shelf.  There, looking forlorn and somewhat out of place, sat a tube of Pepsodent toothpaste.

"Wow, where have YOU been all these years?" And how had such an icon of past consumer products been relegated to the bottom shelf. Along with millions of Americans in the 1950's, I wondered where the yellow went when I brushed my teeth with Pepsodent.

Then I saw the price of a dollar and understood completely my old friend's fall from marketing grace. Very popular before the mid 1950's, Pepsodent was slow to add flouride to its formula and sales fell behind highly promoted Crest and Gleem. Today Pepsodent is sold as a "value brand", often half the price of similar sizes of Crest and Colgate.

Because of the price, I wondered that my dental buddy may no longer be up to the cleaning task. It was worth a try and I've since discovered Pepsodent is as good as ever even though it now too has flouride.

On my subsequent trips to drugstores, I've engaged in a homegrown form of marketing sedition. If no one is looking, I place the Pepsodent where it belongs, on the top shelf.