The Tissue Test, O Rly?

I admire well-implemented marketing strategies. Nothing turns me on more than seeing companies know and appeal to their target market. I love it.

  • Sexy = a company that sees what we want and makes a product to meet that want.
  • Not Sexy = a company that makes a product, then tries to convince us it’s what we want- or worse, what we need.

“Technically” both are effective methods of marketing a product. But one solves a problem. The other creates a problem, then solves that made-up problem.

Solving made-up problems isn’t sexy, it’s sleazy.
No better than the proverbial used car salesman.

Crest’s Tissue Test is really something.

It’s been out for awhile, but if you haven’t seen the commercial yet, check it out on YouTube.

Basically, if your teeth aren’t white compared to a chemically whitened piece of tissue then your teeth aren’t white enough and you need to fix them.

Think about that. Crest wants us to compare our teeth to bleached tissue paper. Because that’s a totally rational standard of comparison. (I’m rolling my eyes so hard, I feel they may roll right out of my skull).

In case I’m not clear enough, the #tissuetest is not a thing. If there’s any sense in the world, it will never be a thing. But I bet there are those who will see that commercial and think, “my teeth aren’t good enough.”

Don’t we get more than our daily dose of the worldly-feel-not-good-enough from makeup commercials, clothing commercials, movies, and “reality” shows?

Do you feel unstylish? Overweight? Have messy hair? Too dark? Too light? Too not what the girls on TV look like? Great news! Now you can feel like your teeth aren’t white enough, too. Thank you, Crest!

I know Crest isn’t the first one to execute this sort of tactic and I know they’re not going to be the last. But still. If we’re going to make up standards of beauty, then could we be a bit more sensible?

And don’t even get me started on Lysol’s slick little ‘Toilet Germs’ commercial. Same scheme, different product.


63 thoughts on “The Tissue Test, O Rly?

  1. M.K. Aneal says:

    Oh!! I cannot tell you how much I enjoyed this post!!
    Really, I was having a bad day and needed to rant – but after reading this, I actually… Feel better!!
    Haha, such a thought out, sensible post that really helped me release my anxiety! Haha, loved it! *handclaps*

    Aw, gee, my toilet ain’t clean enough now? 😛

    Liked by 2 people

  2. Right! Crest is so cray. And Lysol tryna make people think their sinks are as dirty as their toilets. What? Idk what people in the Lysol commercials “do” in their sinks and I don’t wanna lol. Thanks for your comment!

    Liked by 4 people

  3. M.K. Aneal says:

    Haha, they sure are!!
    Ahs, I am seriously worried about that… Don’t use actor’s sinks – maybe that’s the lesson! Haha! 😛
    Most welcome! 😀

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Well said – take that Crest! Sadly I feel lots of people will see the ad and get up and go immediately to the nearest bathroom to rip off a few squares of TP and take the test. Ahh… The power of suggestion.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. It is sad! What makes is worse is that it’s intentional. It’s not Crest saying “Oops, we didn’t mean to make people feel self-conscious.” It’s a well thought out plan.

    Liked by 2 people

  6. Lovely..
    Just want to add one thought on this, I don’t know how much it will be true… When something is “free “with a product then we are the product…
    Marketing strategy is a great diplomacy and shows creativity…

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Great Essay…

    One of the reasons I stopped watching regular tv several years before the Lord brought me back to him was the “Negative” way in which men were being portrayed and compared to women in commercials.

    I wonder what you would have thought of the Hefty Garbage Bag commercial that showed women telling what they wanted in a man; interspersed with images of a woman using a Hefty Garbage bag that showed off its features. At the end of the commercial they show a woman saying: “And when I’m done with him…’ then cut to the Hefty Garbage bag, now filled with trash, being tossed out on top of a garbage can.

    Then there’s the camera commercial that showed a parent teacher conference where in place of the father was a horse’s behind sitting next to the mother.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Absolutely! Television is a great tool if it is used for educational purposes. On the other hand most of what passes for popular entertainment springs from the mind of Satan. And for a Christian to watch is deadly to their spirituality for it is written in 2 Cor. 3:18 –

    “But we all, with open face beholding as in a glass the glory of the Lord, are changed into the same image from glory to glory, even as by the Spirit of the Lord.”

    Now if an individual is transformed by beholding Christ what of the individual who constantly (day and night) beholds evil acts and ideals displayed on television shows that run counter to the Principles found in the Word of God – the Bible.

    Since what goes into my mind is just as important to my spirituality as what goes into my mouth is to my body I use Philippians 4:8 –

    “Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things.”

    – as the ultimate test. Any media that doesn’t pass this Biblical test I lay aside as unfit for Christian consumption. 🙂

    Liked by 4 people

  9. Iro odasor says:

    For the record, brushing your tongue gets rid ofthe built up bacteria colonies that stink and feel bad. Bacteria is what creates the tartar on your teeth. Also teeth are naturally an off-white color because the Denton underneath the enamel is actually a yellowish color while the enamel Is transparent. Shame on crest. My dentist recently told me to stop using Crest because it often creates staining on the teeth which I noticed on my own and in some peoples mouths it causes sloughing of the mucosa.

    Liked by 2 people

  10. Wow, if we could only bottle this Rae. For too long we have been convinced of needs that aren’t really needs. Whatever happened to loving in the midst of….and that includes ourselves. I got rid of my tv….well cable anyway. Commercials are no longer my concern. I just can’t feed into the marketing anymore. There are so many more important things to consider these days that the whiteness of my teeth doesn’t even come close to ranking. I love your writing style Rae. Keep it up!!

    Liked by 2 people

  11. Thanks Lisa! Marketing had become almost like a plague. I’m right with you. I still have TV but I spend less than 6 hours a month watching it. The commercials and media…someone somewhere always tryna get us to buy something. Ugh. Thanks for your comment!

    Liked by 1 person

  12. “The other creates a problem, then solves that made-up problem.”

    Here’s an example of that…with a twist. TD Bank’s big marketing campaign exclaims that, with TD Bank, you get to “Bank Human;” they have TV ads presenting ‘recovering’ robot-like tellers and office assistants that have supposedly come over from other banks. Here’s the twist: TD Bank’s own in-branch personnel will tell you that the logic of how any given transaction is processed, especially with respect to other transactions, is set in play “when the transaction first hits and can not be over-ridden by a human being.” That’s scary.

    I struggled for many months with how transactions…once “pending”…can not be pushed, pulled, cancelled, forced to complete, …nothing, until it “settles” and then it is too late to prevent something undesirable from happening. Sometimes it takes days for a transaction to drop from a “pending” status. I’m just curious…what is happening to those dollars while the transaction is “pending?” The funds are no longer available to me and the recipient hasn’t got them? Who has? And what are they investing in overnight?

    Liked by 1 person

  13. Interesting. But if you wanna go into the corruption of big banks, look at how Bank of America had set up accounts to process debit withdrawals from largest amounts to smallest instead of date of transaction in order to double hit users with overdraft fees. Then they’re recently “fixing” that. Banks disgust me.

    Liked by 2 people

  14. I left just enough in my TD Bank account to cover a payment drafted from the IRS. It “hit” and went into ‘pending’ status. Then 2 unauthorized drafts ‘hit’ and I tried to get them stopped or reversed. “We can not stop them or reverse them but you will be charged an over draft fee.” “But my IRS payment must be honored.” “It will be,” said the branch manager. And it was. But the next day, it was REVERSED. The unauthorized payments were honored. I’m still trying to get TD Bank to own up to their mismanagement of the whole thing.

    Liked by 1 person

  15. MSW, I read both article and really enjoy them. Ironically they came at just the right time in my life. You blog good stuff, thanks for sharing!


  16. I love your basic message — “Solving made-up problems isn’t sexy, it’s sleazy.” In fact, it’s lying. We must remember that truth comes from rational thinking, logic and evidence. We need to learn to be skeptical about any claims — whether “problems” or “solutions” — that are not supported by verifiable evidence. Being skeptical is a never ending challenge because we humans are very easily fooled. That’s why science is so crucial.

    Liked by 1 person

  17. Right! It’s interesting though because the most experienced marketers create their own truths and base their reasoning on created concepts. You’re right because underneathe the glam is a lie. A sleazy attempt to get mo’ money.


  18. I love your sense of humor! I agree that we all have enough of the “Make them feel inadequate,” syndrome going on. I am always telling my husband, “why don’t they put a fat person in those skimpy little outfits? Perhaps show someone with bucked teeth instead of that dazzling smile.” Now that I could get behind because most of us aren’t bones or have perfect teeth.

    Liked by 1 person

  19. Ha. Saw this commercial today for the first time. I held a piece of paper up to my teeth and thought, wow! I’m so screwed. Then I stopped caring and went back to being human. Great piece, Rae. This kind of marketing is just an insult to intelligence.

    Wait–are there–GERMS in the bathroom?

    Half of this nonsense has been encouraged by daytime “medical” and style shows and their ten minute segments about the horrors lurking in our homes and the miracle fixes for our hideous (normal) human flaws (features). These little wonders of the information age have then tripped happily onto the Internet, of course. UGH!

    Liked by 1 person

  20. Great post! Interesting stuff, and it’s been going on for a while. Western commerce has been on this tip for at least a century, if not two.

    Although deodorant is one example I expect most of us can get behind, one I find particularly interesting is women shaving their armpits.

    Before the 1900s no one thought twice about armpit hair because no one ever saw it (elbows and ankles were risque). Then in 1915 a magazine ran an ad of a young woman with her arms above her head and clean pits. Suddenly something no one had thought about became a “hygiene” issue (there is of course no hygienic benefit to shaving your pits, probably quite the opposite) and an industry was born. Woman’s razors.

    Believe it or not it took another 5 years for shaving your legs to become a “necessity.”

    Liked by 1 person

  21. Loved everything about your post. I, too, cracked up when I saw the “tissue test.” But you’ve hit at the core of the problem, and I’m considering it as I think about writing a book. In my particular case, I don’t want to create an issue and then solve it; I want to see an issue we all deal with and then see how the Lord solves it in scripture. Thanks for saying this all so creatively, Rae.

    Liked by 1 person

  22. Stephen, Wouldn’t that be nice lol. But if that were the case, there wouldn’t be much commerce because when we really get down to it, we don’t need much. It’s our “wants,” that make the money.


  23. You forgot ‘Those horrid age spots’. So not funny. I was in direct sales to agriculture business for over twenty years. Those farm people knew real and fake and they taught me ‘how to’ find the real need and fill that, rather than to force a need that they didn’t have. That is how we found long lasting customers and not just another order for the moment. Big difference. Thanks for the prompt.

    Liked by 1 person

  24. Mona says:

    Than you for posting this. Every time I see it, I think of the paper bag test to see if someone is either too dark to be white or too light to be black.

    Liked by 2 people

  25. christianforkids says:

    I know exactly what you mean. Thank you for this wonderful opinion that you shared. Inner beauty is what’s most important.

    Liked by 2 people

  26. You have a mind of your own and aren’t afraid to express it. How did BOA get into the conversation? Oh ya, toilet. I see the connection now. The stiffed me for $8000 in extra charges when I sold my house and they cleared the lien on the loan. Well I closed with my attorney, the best in the business. Why $8000? Who is going to try to sue BOA? They know it and take advantage of it, To think we bailed them out when they couldn’t get a computer to balance their books.

    Liked by 1 person

  27. Curiously, it was a toothpaste company that “invented” modern marketing. I believe it was Pepsodent. People used tooth “cream” and tooth paste, but a lot of folks thought it was not worthwhile. All the science stuff about how it maintained your teeth and kept your gums healthy was seen as hogwash. Teeth were meant to fall out bit by bit until you’re toothless at 50. (This is around the turn of the last century).
    Finally, a guy hit on a concept that was BETTER than a product that was just good for you. He realized VANITY would have the greatest appeal. They began to run ads that said “Your teeth will look clean and your breath will be fresh”, and probably did a mind-bend way to make you compare yourself to less well-brushed people.
    Marketing for all product took that turn after Pepsodent flew off the shelves.
    Prior to that, products were simply hawked with amazing and unaccountable qualities “It will cure TB and cancer and make you rich”, or the ads simply stated in a boring, factual way, that which the product was intended for or excelled at.

    Now, of course, beyond vanity, the marketing world has developed the whole “you’re not as good as the next guy/gal” attitude.

    “If you don’t buy our product, everyone around you will think you’re an anti-social cheapskate.”

    Seek peace, (and personal perfection through marketed beauty aids)


    Liked by 1 person

  28. Ro says:

    Really enjoyed this. My blog called “Chosen” addresses what we do to ourselves when we buy in to advertisers and others trying to convince us of our worthlessness.

    Liked by 1 person

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