Orapup – Toothbrushes for Dogs

Orabrush is a company that knows its way around the Web. It began selling its tongue-cleaning brushes on a Web site, and eventually though innovative guerrilla marketing, worked its way into a multi-million dollar distribution agreement with WalMart. And today, after more than 50 million hits on its human videos, Orabrush has come up with a new target for its brushes – dogs!

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Actually, it was Orabrush customers and fans (called “Orabuddies”) who had suggested that the company make tongue brushes to help eliminate doggie bad breath. The company tested the idea through crowd-sourcing site www.indiegogo.com, and raised $60,000 by selling the product, plus getting feedback and market buzz along the way.

The new product uses Orabrush’s success with humans to develop a new product and market. The company has found a formula using geo-targeted YouTube advertising to drive sales near stores carrying the products. Orabrush generates online awareness and sales first, then works on offline distribution channels (such as WalMart).

And what a market it is – the pet care industry is worth tens of billions of dollars! While Orapup is still a small player in the market, the continuing growth of pet ownership and spending sets it up nicely for continued growth.

Group Activities and Discussion Questions:

  1. Start with a discussion about the four basic market strategies: product development, market development, market penetration, and diversification. How can each of these strategies be used for a company?
  2. Next, discuss Orabrush in relationship to the four strategies. Which strategy is Orabrush pursuing with Orapup?
  3. View the videos and Web site for Orapup’s doggie toothbrush: www.orapup.com
  4. Why, or why not, will this be a successful strategy?
  5. What other tactics should the company use to penetrate this new market?
  6. For more on the background of Orabrush and how they got noticed, view the story online: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=p4tuTi8_z6Q

Source:  Ad Age Daily, 2/22/13

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