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DTC Toothpaste Brand Twice Inks New Retail Partnerships

Twice, which is co-founded by Lenny Kravitz, is betting that the ‘oral beauty’ boom will primarily occur offline.
Twice will launch in Target stores across the US.
Twice will launch in Target stores across the US. (Courtesy Twice)

When it comes to teeth, bright, sparkling white is the ideal, while yellow is often associated with tooth decay.

But for four-year-old, direct-to-consumer oral care brand Twice, whose newly-revamped product packaging is entirely banana yellow, the benefits of yellow outweigh any negative associations.

Instead of shying away, “we’re going headfirst at it,” said Cody Levine, Twice’s co-founder and chief brand officer. “For us, it’s about brightness, connection, light and being able to fuel people to reach for something different in ... a fairly sleepy category.”

Twice was founded in 2018 by Levine and his brother Julian, as well as Lenny Kravitz, a longtime patient of the Levine siblings’ dentist father (the musician also serves as chief creative officer). The brand takes a health-driven approach to oral care, focusing not just on teeth but the entire mouth and its connection to the rest of the body, aiming to balance the pH in the mouth to prevent conditions like gingivitis. It’s now gearing up for a relaunch that will add the aforementioned yellow packaging (previously, it was white with colour accents) and a new suite of products, including floss, a whitening pen and an oral “immunity rinse.” Also part of the relaunch: shelf space in Target stores.

The brand is one of several attempting to shake up the oral care market, which has long been dominated by Crest and Colgate. It wasn’t until more recently that oral care started receiving as much attention from DTC brands as categories such as shaving and beauty, in part because toothpaste is viewed by many consumers as an item thrown into the cart during a trip to the drug store rather than sought out and purchased online.

“People need these products the second they run out of it,” said Julian Levine, Twice’s chief executive. “We’re living in a digital age, but 85 percent of transactions in our category happen on a retail shelf. The opportunity is massive.”

Start-ups have popularised charcoal as a toothpaste ingredient and new forms of packaging, such as glass jars. In their marketing, they are trying to convince customers that toothpaste is a beauty product, with the slick branding and bespoke ingredients that come with the category. Even Crest and Colgate have identified a need to shake things up: last year, Colgate debuted Co., an “oral beauty” line with Instagram-friendly products targeted towards Gen-Z.

“This evolution into this new aesthetic is definitely meant to showcase oral care in a light that has an element of beauty,” said Julian Levine, gesturing to Twice’s immunity rinse product. “This is a beauty bottle, and we want people to proudly display this.”

But with start-up brands getting space on mass-market store shelves, the time may be right for toothpaste challenger brands to hit the mainstream, particularly as consumers seek out more specialised, health or sustainability-focused options. Twice, which has seen its revenues grow sixfold over the past year, and is expecting 500 percent year-over-year growth in 2022.

In addition to Target, Twice inked a retail partnership with the grocery store Wegmans at the end of last year and with CVS in 2020. Digital is still a part of the brand’s equation: it sells on Amazon in addition to its own channels. But Julian Levine said that going forward Twice wants to thread the needle between the two. The hope is not just that the yellow will catch consumer eyes in the aisle, but be a strong enough brand identifier that consumers will be able to connect the dots when they see the brand online.

“We have 13 and a half inches [on Target shelves], which is probably 10 feet shorter than what Colgate and Crest have,” said Julian Levine. “But it stands out like a sore thumb.”

Learn more:

Brands Sink Their Teeth Into Oral Care

Start-ups and consumer product giants are reinventing products like toothpaste and mouthwash, hoping a luxury or sustainable twist will nab health-conscious consumers.

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Building a DRC Challenger Brand
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Building a DRC Challenger Brand