minty fresh

It's no secret around our house that brett has *ahem* perfect teeth and I, despite flossing, and brushing, and praying to the tooth gods daily, appear to have less than perfect...wait....less than barely perfect teeth. So, a few months ago when the PR agency for Oral B got in touch with me and offered to send me a toothbrush to try, I thought - hey, why not. I mean, it's not like it could HURT my lame pathetic teeth at this point. So, I waited patiently for the giant box from the PR company (sidenote: why does the shipping box have to be giant? Is there a rule that PR "gifts" have to be ostentatious? Huge? Wasteful? Especially when what you're being sent is already in a box, it makes little sense to me). But I digress.

Now, for the sake of honesty (and because they sent me a lovely toothbrush), I'm going to tell you two things: this was the toothbrush they sent me (the Oral B Triumph with Smart Guide), and it costs, give or take, $200 to buy at your local shoppers drug mart. Yes. You read that right. $200. So it's not the, say, average everyday toothbrush that you'll be buying for, oh, your 8-year-old.

About the Brush: I have always used plain old boring $3.95 toothbrushes. Before this, I had never ever used an electric toothbrush. And the thing I have to say, more than anything else, is that I really like using electric toothbrushes. This brush made me a convert. It's easy to use, easy to charge, and has four handy speeds. My teeth feel bizarrely clean, like for the last thirty years I've just been brushing with cotton batting and ONLY NOW have I discovered that that didn't work. That's not to say there's anything wrong with regular toothbrushes, just oh-my-god, my teeth feel great! Despite the $17 (!!!) replacement cost for two toothbrush heads for this crazy brush (COME ON, ORAL-B, are they made of precious metals? This seems surprisingly like the Razor Blade racket to me), I think I'm going to keep using it.

Things I love: 4 speeds, the digital display smiles at you when you're done with your allotted two minutes of brushing, we now have an unobtrusive clock in our bathroom, clean teeth.

Things I hate: how heavy the handle is, how the replacement brush heads just seem WAY too expensive for *ahem* 3.5 inches of toothbrush, how you appear to need some sort of secret-service-esque code to board an airplane with the thing and turn the wireless signal off.

Result: Toothbrush, winner. I like it. It gets to stay.

NOW, since I've always worked in marketing, and am particularly keen on design, I just HAVE to mention this:

What is this design monstrosity staring back at me? Oral B, are you microsoft? I know this is a $200 toothbrush, but seriously - how about making your packaging (a) easy to follow and (b) pretty? Because I'm surely not going to buy the box on the shelf that doesn't speak to my aesthetic senses. I'm just not. If I were in drugstore with a pretty looking box to choose from, or this weird Oral B 'let's show you every possible feature and some dubious scientific information to wow you into spending $200', I would choose the pretty box that looked elegant - because I like to think of my teeth as elegant, rather than as in need of Microsoft Windows 95 - especially for $200. Do I care how many oscillations per minute my toothbrush does? Or do I need a FEATURE CHECKLIST? Probably not, since this isn't *ahem* Photoshop or something. It's a toothbrush. I put on the little toothbrush head, get out the toothpaste, put the brush in my mouth and hit the power button. I'm not making it fly into space.

The first thing this box made me think of was this very old, but great video about packaging design: Microsoft iPod. Enjoy!

Packaging horror story aside, I'm happy with it, but largely because it was free. I'd never actually buy one - it's way too expensive for what it does, and I'm not sure it's markedly different from the $30 electric toothbrush they also sell (note: same toothbrush heads!). It just happens to be the one they sent me.