Since cosmetic dentistry marketing was typically an appeal to emotions, it was the perfect time for laboratory owners to take their message directly to the public. By all accounts, DenMat Corp. was the first: in the Fall of 1984, the company placed ads in consumer magazines—Reader’s Digest and McCall’s—saying, “Give a Smile for Christmas.” The ads elicited a tremendous response and the company’s telephones were jammed.
By February of 1985, Dr. Robert Ibsen, then president, told the crowd at a Cal-Lab meeting that DenMat was making over 1,000 Cerinate laminates a month for laboratories and dentists. “There are plenty of disposable dollars available for dentistry. But we have to go out there and get it. And marketing is our tool,” he said. “It happened to optometry when soft contact lenses were advertised directly to the public. Now it’s our turn.”
Later, during an ADA meeting in Atlanta, DenMat made another appeal to patients by advertising on the huge billboard that hovered over the convention center.
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