PR Fail: Toothbrush freebies rinsed away by Colgate

By on Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Never underestimate the popularity of a freebie – and here’s an example from Colgate to explain why.

On Monday, they set-up a stall at Waterloo station billed as the ‘Big Toothbrush Swap’ – where the public could bring along their old electric toothbrush and replace it with a brand new model. To ensure a good crowd, coverage had appeared in national news to generate the kind of buzz you’d want for this event – and after all, who wouldn’t grab £170 worth of dental hygiene for free?

However, it took just over 24 hours for this five day event to come to a close – as come Tuesday morning, they were mobbed by crowds of keen commuters all with their brush in hand.

Thus, having already given out their 150 available products and causing chaos in Europe’s busiest rail station, National Rail ordered the closure of the kiosk.


An ambitious project gone wrong with plenty of headlines to prove it – a classic PR fail.


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