Oral B’s “Wrong Reason” 2 Minute Toothbrushing App

How to you get people to do what you want them to do? One approach is what we call “right reason” marketing. If you make toothbrushes, that means rationally convince people why they should brush for 2 whole minutes – better hygiene, greater cavity prevention, etc.  Surely they’ll agree and brush away! Or not.

The reality is that many people don’t always do what’s in their best interest, even when they think they should. Psychologists call this cognitive dissonance, and it’s something humans have a great tolerance for.

Enter Oral B with a more creative “wrong reason” approach to get people to brush longer. For kids, brush longer because it’s fun and you win stuff! For adults, because you can catch up on news and weather! Or because you get reinforcing messages about how your great brushing habits!

Check out their Disney Magic App for kids, because “Longer, happier brushing awaits!”

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Scan any OralB, Disney or Crest product (great partnership trio!), and the fun begins with new hidden cartoons that get “brushed” away while the 2 minute timer counts down, and kids collect more prizes in their magic album the longer they brush, etc.

For adults, OralB just announced an app to go with their $220 Bluetooth-enabled smart toothbrush. Besides fanatically tracking brushing behavior and relaying it to your dentist (yay!), the app provides 2 minutes of weather, news, and scenic Nat Geo slideshows to keep you brushing (so much for mindfulness!).

While many educators and others argue vociferously against this kind of “extrinsic motivation,” there’s a lot of evidence that it works. But it does come at a cost – a bottomless desire for distraction and fulfillment to motivate us to do things we don’t love doing.