Episode 49


 What does it mean to be a brand?

One of the most critical barriers to success is understanding what a brand is and what a brand is NOT.  I get this question all the time. Let me tell you what a brand is NOT: A brand is NOT a name, logo, tag-line, package design or the product itself. I call these elements: Window-dressing your brand. A brand is simply an EMOTIONAL IDENTITY that differentiates products, services and people.

As a former marketing executive at global multi-billion dollar consumer products companies like Nabisco, Kraft Foods, Cadbury and Godiva, I successfully crafted emotional identities for some of the world’s most iconic brands. Over the course of 25 years, a frequent challenge I faced was communicating the role a brand played in consumer’s lives…in other words its Core Value. To solve this problem, I developed a process to label that brand’s Core Value using just ‘One Word’.  This helps consumers understand what they are actually buying. 

During this series, I will select a brand I worked on or studied and share it’s ‘One Word’ Core Value, as well as share valuable topics in the branding arena that will help you Stand-Out Conquer Obstacles and Reach Excellence…in other words, SCORE.

So before we turn to today’s brand clip…I have a question for you: 


Show Notes (click to expand)

It’s pretty safe to say that bad breath can really put a damper on your dating life, especially your first date.

One of the goals of a first date is to see if there is chemistry. Some of the signs of great chemistry include easy conversation, similar senses of humor, common life goals etc.. All of these factors can begin building the foundation to a great romance. 


…no matter how amazing that date goes, there’s no bigger deal-breaker than going in for that first kiss and being met with halitosis….what a nasty word by the way.

Bad breath is a natural fear of many in the dating scene. 

In fact:

A 2013 survey for National Fresh Breath Day found that 67% of British men and women deemed bad breath to be the ultimate first date turnoff.

According to a survey of 5,000 singles conducted by Match.com, 43% of the respondents said “fresh breath mattered the most” for a potential date. 
I’m definitely in this camp too. 

Now…if you’re wondering why I’m doing a podcast episode about bad breath, it’s because of today’s brand clip….the gum brand that I like to refer to as “a nuclear blast in your mouth”…and that’s Dentyne!

In 1899, a New York City druggist named Franklin V. Canning formulated a chewing gum which he promoted as an aid to oral hygiene.  Mr. Canning called his new gum Dentyne, which is a combination of the words “dental” and “hygiene”! Who knew?

Growing up I was always told that chewing gum was bad for your teeth. However, that is NOT entirely true. After spending one year doing innovation work in the gum division at Cadbury Adams, I learned that chewing sugar-free gum offers the following benefits to your oral health. 

#1 Preventing tooth decay
#2 Increasing saliva flow
#3 Whitening teeth
#4 Stress relief
#5 the ONE thing we all have experienced needing a piece of chewing gum at some point in our lives to combat…and that is bad breath
Not all chewing gums are created equal when it comes to freshening breath. Some gums are fruity, some are minty and some are a combination of fruity and minty.

While minty chewing gum will always be the star of the gum category, during my time at Cadbury, new fruit flavors were driving growth and creating new opportunities. Of course, this became a concern for Dentyne, a brand primarily known for that nuclear blast of minty freshness. So we decided to go out and do focus groups to learn how we could drive innovation for Dentyne and stay true to our minty heritage.

Putting my ‘One Word’ hat on, I thought it was important to understand the business that Dentyne was in and I knew it was NOT chewing gum…that was the category they played in.

The answer to my question came from one of the teenagers who said something during one of the focus groups when asked by the moderator why he chewed Dentyne gum.

His response definitely woke me up in the backroom as I was listening:

“ Without Dentyne in my mouth, there’s NO ACTION TAKING PLACE”….and he used his hands to gesture the idea of quote-unquote “ACTION.”

When the moderator pressed him further on his answer, he then said: 

“Ma’am, you know what I’m saying…fresh breath allows me to feel good about going in for the kiss…and then some!”

That’s when the lightbulb when off in my head and I knew right then and there that Dentyne was NOT in the gum business…they were in the CONFIDENCE business. This teenager knew that a few chews of Dentyne gum gave him the CONFIDENCE to, as he would later say at the end of the groups, “GET THE GIRL”! 

The head nods from the other teenagers in the room made it perfectly clear that Dentyne would drive the CONFIDENCE they all needed to make that first-kiss a win-win for all!

As I learned more about the Dentyne brand, these focus group learnings were consistent with past advertising Dentyne did when I was growing up. Watching gum advertising in the late 70s and early 80s was like taking a masterclass in advertising jingles.

Now, I’m going to be aging myself when I say that, in the 80s, Dentyne created one of my favorite TV campaign jingles of all time called, 

“Brush your breath with Dentyne” 

All of the TV spots in this campaign followed a similar pattern with varying degrees of humor by focusing primarily on Dentyne’s breath-freshening qualities.

Two television spots drive my point home:


You finally found your young prince charming…

Too bad your breath is so alarming

Brush your breath

Brush your breath

Brush your breath with Dentyne!


A kiss for charity is really fine

But breath like yours isn’t worth a dime

Brush your breath

Brush your breath

Brush your breath with Dentyne!

First-dates aren’t going away….kissing isn’t going away…and neither is Dentyne gum.

If there’s one thing I know for sure, it’s this:

Your product is NOT your brand.
Your brand is your Core Value…AND
You use your product as the vehicle to drive your Core Value.
Dentyne uses their nuclear blast of chewing gum to drive their Core Value of CONFIDENCE.
So, the next time you’re looking for that nuclear blast of minty freshness before going in for that first kiss, remember this: CONFIDENCE is how Dentyne SCORES.

I’m Rich Keller, The CATALYST and see you next time on The CATALYST Effect!

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