TOOTHPASTE – a memory of my favorite movie ad from Bombay.



 Two  men are playing badminton on the court of an elite club in Mumbai, India.  They wore  crisp, white, short-sleeved shirts and white shorts, flaunting their handsome, tanned looks and taut bodies as they swatted the decoy back and forth between them over the net.  From the sidelines  their two girlfriends looking pretty in cotton saris cheered them on. This is the opening scene of a commercial played before  the main movie feature in the Metro Cinema in Mumbai years ago.

Once the game ended, the girlfriends sauntered over,  coyly  up to their men, bat-batting their eyelashes!  The first couple exchanged smiles, a few whispered words and wandered off with their arms around each other’s waists.  The second player smiled at his approaching girlfriend and as she drew near he asked if she would like to go out to a movie with him that evening.  She drew back with a repulsed look on her face, palm flying to her nose and turned her face!  Rejection.   The man looks stunned and embarrassed.  A voice in an Indian/British accent  drones out over the sound system…  “Do you suffer from bad breath?  Use Kolynos toothpaste and enjoy life again!”

The ad now cuts to another day, another game ended and our hero now looking very confident is asking his girl out again.  This time she moves closer to him, smiles and nods in the affirmative to his smiling query and they too wander off, arms around each other’s waists.  Thank you Kolynos!

The ad then ends with this little ditty set to music:

“I brush my teeth with Kolynos

Kolynos Super White!

I brush for two whole minutes

Both day and night

I brush my teeth with Kolynos

Kolynos Super White!

Success in attracting the man/woman of your dreams is promised by these ads, sometimes set to tunes in the form of catchy jingles.  “Let a smile be your umbrella” goes the first line of a famous song.  Or, consider the jingle “You wonder where the yellow went when you brush your teeth with Pepsodent.”  This one touts the property of banishing the yellow forever to a place of no return.  I was reading this next fact in a magazine at the doctor’s office.    In Spanish-speaking countries, Colgate toothpaste faced a big marketing obstacle.  The word C O L G A T E   translates into the directive “…go hang yourself” in Spanish.    I looked up pondering how it was pronounced in Spanish….Colgate, like we do or was it different?  Well, it so happened that I was seated across from a woman of Hispanic descent and decided to ask her.  “Is this true?” I queried, showing her the sentence in question.  “Does Colgate mean “go hang yourself in Spanish?”  She puzzled over the line for a few seconds and then her face broke into a smile. “Si, si it is pronounced Coal-gaa-tay and it does mean go hang yourself!”  Go figure!

All over the world, toothpaste, along with mouthwash, gum, breath-mints are the arsenal in today’s kit to combat bad breath. The ads for these products warn you of the final, dire result of not using one or all the above, i.e. failure to attract the opposite sex.   If you did manage to meet said goal, you still face the high chance of being turned down, as you   pucker up, close your eyes and expect the bliss of a first, goodnight kiss.  A good toothpaste, this ad promised,  would guarantee this bliss!

I wonder if Kolynos is still around?