Crest Wants Everyone's Holidays to Be Whiter

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Eyeing holiday sales, Procter & Gamble Co.'s Crest brand is running an online contest for its Crest Whitestrips Premium product on the Shutterfly photo-sharing service.


The Crest Whitestrips Holiday Smiles Photo Contest requires consumers to visit the site at www.shutterfly.com. Registered Shutterfly members may submit a digital snapshot of their favorite holiday smile to win a bunch of prizes. This is Crest Whitestrips' first contest with an online photo service.


"The holidays is a heavy season for Crest Whitestrips," said Amit Mackar, assistant brand manager at Crest Whitestrips in Cincinnati. "We wanted to bring a call to action for whitening your teeth during the holidays."


Shutterfly members can post their favorite holiday smile -- of themselves or their children or friends -- to the site. Members and non-members can view the entries and vote for their favorite shot using a star system ranging from one for OK to five for excellent.


Ensuring repeat visits is a key objective. So visitors are allowed to rate as many photos as they want as the entries are posted. The popular vote will nominate 25 semifinalists. A panel of expert judges then will screen for originality and creativity along with popularity.


All semifinalists receive a box of Crest Whitestrips Premium. Ten winners receive a second prize of a $75 Shutterfly gift certificate. Five first-prize winners get a Canon Powershot SD200 digital camera with a $75 Shutterfly gift card. The grand-prize winner gets everything that a first-prize winner receives, plus an all-expenses paid trip for four to either New York, Orlando, FL, or Oahu, HI.


The promotion ends Jan. 12.


Shutterfly Inc.'s deal with Crest is one of many it strikes with marketers, including 1-800-Flowers.com Inc. and Petco. The Redwood City, CA, online company typically gets paid for such deals or gains guarantees in co-marketing dollars.


Shutterfly CEO Jeff Housenbold would not disclose the type of arrangement struck with P&G. But the consumer packaged goods giant is promoting the contests in e-mail blasts to its Club Crest members and touting the effort on the site at www.crest.com.


Also, inserts in packages of photo prints ordered from Shutterfly -- the online firm's main source of revenue along with accessories -- will promote the contest.


"The photo contest platform allows us to partner with other companies whose products make people happier," Housenbold said.


Crest Whitestrips operates in a $232 million teeth-whitening category whose main purpose is to make people feel good about their smiles. The product competes with other at-home whitening treatments as well as professional work done at clinics.


P&G also is running a 30-second television commercial, sponsorships of organizations, print ads and in-store marketing to push Crest Whitestrips.


The latest online effort piggybacks on a consumer trend toward digital photography and the popularity of online photo-sharing services like Shutterfly, Kodak's EasyShare (formerly Ofoto), Snapfish and one by Yahoo.


"I think digital has removed a lot of the cost for photography for consumers because you don't have to buy film," Housenbold said. "Second, you can choose the pictures and which ones are your favorite and develop them. And you get to enjoy life's joyous moments instantly. Digital is reducing the cost and increasing connectedness between people."


Mickey Alam Khan covers Internet marketing campaigns and e-commerce, agency news as well as circulation for DM News and DMNews.com. To keep up with the latest developments in these areas, subscribe to our daily and weekly e-mail newsletters by visiting www.dmnews.com/newsletters
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