Julie Bissett asks what better way to fuel the oral health message than with ‘KISS’ and some humour
The heading above featured as the words on a bumper sticker my father emblazoned across the rear window of our family saloon car one day in the 1970s. I believe it was promotional merchandise for a local garage advertising their servicing provisions. Not a man given to crude innuendo, my siblings and I were mortified at dad and the sticker’s suggestive tone. Dad, meanwhile, thought this even funnier than the cheeky message it conveyed to car drivers behind us.
The British Dental Health Foundation may have missed a trick here – what a fabulous tagline for this year’s National Smile Month campaign (20 May-20 June) suggesting ‘smile if you’ve had a dental check up recently’. Or maybe not…
But the real point is that we all love a laugh. We all need something to trigger our thoughts, senses, reactions and actions. Campaigns such as National Smile Month now needs to promote itself in the same sassy style as most advertising campaigns – it cannot afford to get left behind or remain staid and prescriptive. It needs to encompass the audience – patients – and we need them to take ownership of their dental health without being bullish or ‘nannying’.
KISS and Smile
The KISS principle (keep it simple, stupid) – the acronym used by designers and engineers – translates well into the dental arena. Without meaning to offend, we should all strive to reach the lowest common denominator when communicating key oral health messages; not because we consider our patients incapable of understanding the science behind the mechanics of teeth cleaning but because we all lead busy lives and bullet-point information is the perfect way to ensure we convey – and they retain – knowledge that we expect to be squeezed into brains already jam-packed with ‘stuff’.
Look at life around us and consider what works and what we now instantly recognise – and why:
• Golden arches means ‘fast food here’
• A flashing SLOW DOWN sign means that: slow down in a built-up area
• And a beautifully shot retro TV ad of a truck ploughing through the snow with Coca Cola on its side can only mean that the Christmas ‘Holidays are coming’.
Our front cover star for the May issue of DH&T was chief executive of the British Dental Health Foundation (BDHF), Dr Nigel Carter. Good on him for agreeing to ‘wear’ one of the campaign’s symbol Smileys at our request – reflecting the new, fun approach this year’s campaign endeavours to portray. The Smileys are great fun, make anyone smile and also remind everyone how to take care of their teeth with three messages for great oral health printed on the reverse. A simple idea; great marketing. KISS.
The first ever Dental Hygiene & Therapy awards take place this year at the stunning Vinopolis, Bank End, London, and we want as many of you there as possible.
This is the only UK event to reward excellence among hygienists and therapists and, as direct access gets ever closer, what better way than to celebrate a whole new world than with a night out with colleagues from around the UK in celebration of your skills and talents. For a full rundown of categories please turn to page 28 and find out how to enter! And remember, you may just be on the road to winning a fabulous award as well as a great night out in London just as ‘the Holidays are coming’.
• Visit http://www.dentalhygienetherapy.co.uk/awards/
• Email olivia.o’email@example.com
• Call Olivia on 01923 851735.
Julie Bissett is publisher and managing editor of Dental Hygiene & Therapy