Facing decay in the toy business, Hasbro is getting ready to fight cavities with a newfangled toothbrush/toy that conducts music through the user's jawbone, reports Joseph Pereira in The Wall Street Journal
. It's meant for kids and it's called Tooth Tunes: "When pressed to the teeth (it) renders a recorded riff from a pop star that lasts two minutes -- precisely the amount of time dentists say children should spend brushing their teeth." Not only do dentists love the concept, pop stars are thinking it could be pretty cool, too. Hasbro, hasbro.com
, is already in talks with Will Smith and Black Eyed Peas
about a dental debut. Hillary Duff's manager is so enchanted that he's thinking his star might even write an original Tooth Tune: "Hillary's into clean living," he says, "She would like to convey to kids that, 'Hey I may be Hillary Duff, but I have to brush my teeth too."
Maybe the Cowsills
could make a comeback with this. Mike Bloom is also very excited about it. Mike is senior vice president of merchandising for CVS: "We plan on putting Tooth Tunes in all 5,300 of our stores," he says, adding: "That's a big risk, but I really feel this brush is here for the long haul." Nevermind that CVS already sells "116 different types of toothbrushes, including 88 manual and 28 battery-powered models." Mike is hoping for an exclusive deal with Hasbro, which is planning on bypassing toy stores and distributing their innovation through "drugstores, supermarkets and discount retailers." The brush will not come cheap, though -- it retails at $10 a pop, and only one tune per brush. When the brush wears out you've got to throw Hillary or Will in the garbage and buy a new one (or maybe give it to your little brother).
The "recording is stored on a microchip no bigger than a dot atop the letter i," and is transmitted via a patented, "pea-sized" gizmo called a "dental mandibular sound transducer." The sound quality is said to be "a cross between the sound of music coming out of a stereo speaker and humming to oneself." The invention actually isn't new -- Hasbro previously attempted to use it in a sugar-free lollipop called "Sound Bites
." But, at $10, it was a lollipop flop. Then the thought was, hm, how about a pen? No, that wouldn't work for obvious reasons. Forks and spoons? Well, that wouldn't work either, because the music would stop between bites and "discourage normal eating." Then the toothbrush idea occurred to Andrew Filo, "an inventor-consultant to Hasbro" who was on the team that originally invented the device -- yes, while he was brushing his teeth. Tooth Tunes will be made in Asia, marketed to kids three through teens, and is poised for a Back-To-School launch this fall.
Tim Manners, editor