Spotlight Oral Care Creative Director Ger Byrne shares the inspiration and motivation behind the creation of the new Limited Edition PRIDE Sonic Toothbrush.
How did the PRIDE Sonic Toothbrush idea come about?
“We wanted to support a charity initiative this year and we felt that this was a good fit! There were a lot of things to consider, from the design challenges and limitations in terms of the toothbrush design, to the integrity of the idea. I wanted to be sure that this was going to be an inclusive project that could do good for the LGBTQ+ community and not be just another marketing tool, as so many brands have utilised PRIDE for in the past. However, with hard work and a lot of thought, we came up with a design and campaign that I’m really proud of. This toothbrush really brings a smile to my face. Throughout the design process I shared previews and updates with friends, and everyone's reaction has been the same - pure joy. I can’t believe it looks as good as it does and I’m really glad we worked so hard on this project to get it right.”
What was the driving force behind the campaign?
“For me it was really important that this campaign was done right".
“From working on LGBTQ+ campaigns and fundraisers over the years, like the marriage equality campaign in 2015, I’ve learned a lot about the positive impact a great campaign can have. I wanted to bring that knowledge and insight to this Spotlight Oral Care project, and ensure it was informed, inclusive and could do good for the community members it was highlighting.”
“We all agreed that 100% of the profits needed to go directly to LGBTQ+ charities, and that we needed to use our platforms to highlight the amazing work of organisations and advocacy groups through the campaign, I then had the freedom to get creative with the design.”
Tell us a little about the design of the toothbrush.
“It was important to me that we use the most recent and up to date PRIDE Rainbow Flag design for the toothbrush. The rainbow flag dates back to 1978, when Gilbert Baker was tasked by queer activist Harvey Milk to design an emblem of empowerment for the queer community. Since then the flag has evolved to reflect changes and advancements in the community. In 2017, brown and black stripes were added in an effort to recognise LGBTQ+ people of colour and in 2018, designer Daniel Quasar introduced brown, black, and traditional trans flag colours to represent these community members.”
We have incorporated all of these colours into the brush and its accessories. We have used the most up to date Pride Flag design in the Sonic Toothbrush’s outer packaging and the toothbrush, charging base and travel case include the 6 original Pride flag design colours.
Having campaigned for marriage equality and LGBTQ+ rights here in Ireland, a lot of the goals we have worked towards have been achieved. However, the next cause that’s close to my heart is around trans rights. This brush design was an opportunity to celebrate all that has been achieved so far within the LGBTQ+ community, and a chance to highlight the work that still needs to be done, to ensure our people of colour, trans and non-binary communities feel safe, seen and celebrated, too.”
“To be able to seamlessly and beautifully integrate all of these colours onto the solid brush in a graduated, even blend, and still include the setting and brush logo detailing was a major design challenge. Our other Limited Edition brushes were difficult to create, and those are just one solid colour - Rose Gold and Charcoal - so you can imagine how difficult it was for us to achieve this design from a practical perspective. Through a lot of discussion, sketching, prototyping, trial and error, we eventually reached a design I am so excited about.”
“Our reimagined Sonic Toothbrush features a graduated rainbow blend on the toothbrush itself, informed by the iconic Pride Rainbow Flag, while the purple Travel Case and orange Spotlight Sonic Toothbrush Replacement Heads ensure every colour of the flag, and member of the LGBTQ+ community, is represented with Pride.”
Let’s talk about the campaign tagline, Gleaming With Pride. Where did that stem from?
“The tag line was something I gave a lot of thought to. For me, Gleaming With Pride is perfect because it has a double meaning. As an oral care tool, we know that our Sonic Toothbrush works to help you achieve your best clean and smile. But this tag line also reflects the pride, positivity, confidence and vibrancy of the LGBTQ+ community. We want this toothbrush to brighten your morning, make you feel good about your smile, and help you to feel good about being true to yourself.”
One of the most creative features of the Limited Edition PRIDE Sonic is the 3-speed settings. Where did the inspiration for that design feature come from?
“The attention to detail in this project is not just reflected in the toothbrush and accessories design - every element has been considered. We reimagined our speed settings as another nod to the identity of this campaign. Throughout the development and design process, I checked in with friends and community members to gain their insight and feedback. What we landed on is a fun, symbolic element that adds yet another layer to this toothbrush design and campaign.”
“People might not even notice these little touches, but I love that they are there. For those who do see them, we hope it’ll bring another smile to their face while using this toothbrush. It’s those little touches and details that really add a flair to this Limited Edition Sonic Toothbrush.”
“For those of you who are wondering what inspired the setting names, here’s some background.”
“The Gentle setting has been changed to Shhhh! which is a reference to one of our favourite Spotlight Oral Care collaborations with Kevin Twomey and PJ Kirby of the I'm Grand Mam Podcast. We’ve worked with Kevin and PJ on our oral care campaigns in the past, and one of our favourite moments was when they described our gentle setting as the Shhhh! setting. ”
“The Clean setting has been renamed Werk, which is a RuPaul reference, I’m a massive RuPaul’s Drag Race fan, and wanted to pay homage to the iconic series. We’ve worked with Drag Race contestants and community members in the past here at Spotlight Oral Care, including Blu Hydrangea from the UK show. Werk reflects the Clean setting’s reliability and it’s a “job well done” nod to the theme and ethos of the show, too. Werk is a term that means, our seal of approval.”
“Finally, our White setting has been renamed Yaaass. The term Yaaass (sometimes Yaaass Queen) orginated from urban gay slang and has been used throughout pop culture for decades. It’s a word that has been used to evoke an Aha moment of recognition, or when someone absolutely kills it.
As our strongest and most powerful toothbrush setting, Yaaass was the perfect word to encompass this empowerment and strength. For me, Yaaass is a real term of kudos, and that’s exactly what the setting is - it’s full on, full notch, so this renaming was a no brainer.”
Can you tell us about the charity element of the campaign?
“This project isn’t about making money, it’s a community building project. That’s why 100% of the profits from this toothbrush will go directly to the charities chosen by our customers and followers. Spotlight Oral Care has grown so quickly, and we want to make sure we are connected with people across all 3 of our regions - Ireland, UK and USA. For that reason, we are asking our followers to vote for the LGBTQ+ charity they believe deserves to benefit from this campaign, and 1 charity or organisation from each region will be voted for and chosen. We are putting the power into the hands of our followers and customers to decide where the money should go. But it’s not all about the winners - 3 charities from each region will be shortlisted and their work will be showcased across our platforms throughout the campaign. We want to shine a light on the amazing work these organisations do and help bring awareness to the causes they support.”
If you could sum up this campaign in one sentence, what would it be?
“Owning yourself, expressing individuality, having fun, being free and there’s a celebration element because this toothbrush is so bright, bold and beautiful.”
The Spotlight Oral Care Limited edition PRIDE Sonic Toothbrush is available from 1st June 2021 on SpotlightOralCare.com