Greenwash in a Toothpaste Tube

Will you get closer to Nature if you brush your teeth with Crest’s Nature’s Expressions? The company sure wants you to think so. Its new marketing campaign offers “a hint of nature with the protective power of Crest.” 

Just how does Crest slip a little Nature into its tubes?  Mostly, by the power of suggestion.

Crest_3 The company claims pure peppermint oil gives Crest “a natural peppermint twist.”

The mint and green tea version seems designed to appeal to the millions of people who drink green tea for its many natural healing properties. (Thanks, but I’d rather drink my green tea than brush my teeth with it.)

The lemon and mint option wins the prize for bragging it’s “natural” the most times: “Introducing a toothpaste with the fresh, clean sensation of natural lemon extract. With a natural twist of citrus, Citrus Clean Mint gives you a natural clean feeling all day and all night.” All those natural claims seem a little unnatural to me.

Here’s the topper: Crest’s Nature’s Expressions web site provides 13 tips to help you “Add a little Nature to your life.” But out of the 13, none of them encourages visitors to go outside and actually experience the natural world.

Tip #10 suggests you “hang a picture of your favorite elements from nature – sea, trees, flowers, animals – where your eyes frequently go. For instance, over the telephone.”

Tip #12 encourages you to put your pillows outside in the sun to freshen up. Hmmm… what about brushing your teeth outside? At least, you’d be getting outdoors.

The only thing that’s natural – from an advertising point of view — about Crest’s new toothpaste is the way the company is trying to capitalize on the green marketing frenzy that’s driving commerce these days.

Thumb_brown Actually…in my circles, we don’t call that natural. We call that greenwashing.

Thumbs down, Crest.

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