Den­tal de­cay is one of the most chronic child­hood diseases in New Zealand, with over 29,000 Kiwi kids hav­ing rot­ten teeth pulled out last year. So, the Health Pro­mo­tion Agency en­listed a straight-talk­ing, nonon­sense tooth fairy to help Kiwi kids.

New Zealand Marketing - - The Radio Bureau -

The Chal­lenge

Be­fore kids reach school age, a whop­ping one in seven chil­dren will have se­ri­ous tooth de­cay. Alarm­ingly it’s also one of the top causes for child­hood hospi­tal­i­sa­tion, de­spite the dis­ease be­ing pre­ventable. Re­search shows only half of Kiwi kids brush their teeth twice a day with flu­o­ride tooth­paste. So, the Health Pro­mo­tion Agency (HPA) made it its mis­sion to tackle the is­sue and pro­tect the teeth of young New Zealan­ders. The goals were to have chil­dren brush their teeth twice a day with flu­o­ride tooth­paste; to en­sure par­ents brushed their chil­dren's teeth while they’re young; and es­tab­lish that baby teeth are im­por­tant.

The Re­sponse

The HPA started out by sur­vey­ing 1,000 Kiwi par­ents to find out what is­sues par­ents may have that were get­ting in the way of them giv­ing the ap­pro­pri­ate care to their chil­dren’s teeth. One is­sue was the mis­per­cep­tion that baby teeth were less im­por­tant con­sid­er­ing they will fall out. How­ever, prob­lems with baby teeth can cause is­sues with adult teeth, such as a higher like­li­hood of crooked or crowded teeth. Par­ents also found tod­dlers teeth dif­fi­cult to brush while jug­gling all the other tasks in­volved with car­ing for a young child and of­ten over­es­ti­mated their child’s abil­ity to brush their own teeth. One main is­sue the HPA iden­ti­fied was the per­cep­tion that flu­o­ride was harm­ful, de­spite sci­en­tific ev­i­dence prov­ing it is safe in the doses used in tooth­paste. The HPA also iden­ti­fied that Māori and Pa­cific chil­dren were most af­fected when it came to is­sues re­sult­ing from poor den­tal care. With this in mind, the HPA de­vel­oped a char­ac­ter that would res­onate with par­ents, chil­dren and a Māori and Pa­cific au­di­ence. And, with the help of its part­ners and stake­hold­ers, it re-imag­ined the tooth fairy. The re­sult was a lov­able, sassy, yet stern ‘aunty’ fig­ure with a big heart who didn’t sugar-coat her words and acted as the guardian of baby teeth. The char­ac­ter was launched on so­cial me­dia, TVCS and pushed out through so­cial in­flu­encers to a pos­i­tive re­ac­tion from its in­tended au­di­ence.

The Re­sult

Ac­cord­ing to a post-cam­paign eval­u­a­tion, where 1,000 peo­ple were sur­veyed, the cam­paign was a roar­ing suc­cess. It found 35 per­cent of its pri­mary tar­get au­di­ence said they had made a change to their child’s tooth-brush­ing or den­tal care as a re­sult of see­ing the cam­paign. It found 23 per­cent ad­vised they changed to brush­ing their child’s teeth twice daily, 19 per­cent said they brushed more, 15 per­cent of Pa­cific adults said they had bought a tooth­brush and 11 per­cent of Pa­cific par­ents re­ported they’d changed tooth­paste. The eval­u­a­tion also showed the HPA had cre­ated 87-88 per­cent aware­ness in its pri­mary tar­get au­di­ence of Māori and Pa­cific par­ents. One in five peo­ple re­ported they learned from the cam­paign that the health of baby teeth is linked to the health of adult teeth and only nine per­cent agreed with the state­ment that baby teeth were not as im­por­tant. The cam­paign met­rics showed so­cial me­dia reached 1.55 mil­lion Face­book ac­counts with 850,000 Face­book video views and 20,000 en­gage­ment ac­tions, and on­line de­liv­ered an ad­di­tional 800,000 video views. Fur­ther, though not a main goal in the first stage of the cam­paign, it saw a 30 per­cent lift in calls to the ‘0800 talk teeth free’ com­mu­nity den­tal ser­vice. As the cam­paign was such a suc­cess, it's likely we'll see more of the HPA’S ‘nonon­sense’ tooth fairy in years to come.

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