P&G introduces dessert-flavored Crest toothpaste line

CINCINNATI - Combining dessert and oral hygiene might not seem like an ideal pairing, but Procter & Gamble Co. would disagree.

The consumer products giant announced Monday the upcoming release of a new line of chocolate and vanilla Crest toothpaste products aimed at "experimental" customers. The line is called Crest "Be."

"Daredevils, have we got a surprise for you," it reads on the Crest Be official website. "It's a whole new world of deliciousness for toothbrushes everywhere. And it's ready to take your mouth on an exhilarating ride. Better buckle up."

Flavors will include "Mint Chocolate Trek," "Lime Spearmint Zest" and "Vanilla Mint Spark." Each flavor is marketed as a variation of "Be" – "Be Adventurous" is the chocolate flavor, " Be Dynamic" is the lime flavor and "Be Inspired" is the vanilla flavor.

The vanilla flavor is described on Crest's site as, "whipped together with mint, it's an inspiration to behold. So refreshing and fantastically flavorful. Toothbrushes, it's safe to say you've found your muse."

P&G executives announced the new line in a conference call with investors and analysts Monday morning.

Initial reaction to the new product online was mixed. Businessweek.com blogger Kyle Stock called the new flavors "desperate."

"Chocolate toothpaste is squarely aimed at winning new customers," Stock said. "Maybe it can shake up the toothpaste market the way P&G's Swiffer swept up mop sales or its Tide detergent ‘Pods' have been cleaning up in the laundry category. But lime and chocolate toothpaste have the flavor of desperation, a strategy stretch for a company struggling to increase sales and fighting criticism that it has lost its innovation mojo."

P&G exceeded Wall Street's earnings expectations with a $3.4 billion profit in its second quarter. But sales growth was slightly below expectations and promised innovations in beauty care have yet to spark a turnaround in key brands Pantene and Olay.

"We're as impatient as anybody," Chief Financial Officer Jon Moeller told reporters last week. "We'd like progress sooner than later but it needs to be done in the right way."

Crest's "Be" toothpaste will hit store shelves in February.
 

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