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Driving growth: Closeup’s fresh perspective on toothpaste tastes in Vietnam


Already the third most-chosen toothpaste brand in the world, Closeup is using its expertise in freshness, combined with new consumer insights into local taste preferences, to grow its consumer base in Vietnam.

Vietnamese celebrity Lona Kiều Loan brushes her teeth with Closeup.

With a fast-growing personal care market and the country’s overall consumer numbers predicted to almost double by 2030, oral care is big business in Vietnam. Closeup already commands around 20% of the country’s toothpaste market share. Keen to build on this, the brand recently launched a deep dive into consumer taste preferences, which it used to drive product innovation.

Previous trials suggest Vietnamese consumers enjoy an intense cooling sensation during brushing, with a balance of sweetness and spice in the flavour bouquet. Closeup’s best-selling core product, Bạc Hà Thơm Mát, has traditionally mirrored this profile, but the brand wanted to ensure that it was keeping pace with evolving tastes.

Creating the perfect paste

The brand’s Flavour Expertise team, together with partner flavour houses, created a diverse set of prototypes. Following a preliminary screening, a handful of promising candidate flavours were selected for final validation among consumers. Their feedback revealed three key insights, highlighting the need for a hyper-local approach to flavours, the importance of mouthfeel and the impact of cooling elements.

The three insights driving Closeup’s new formula

  1. Local food and drinks help shape people’s palates: With a strong tea-drinking culture in the north of the country, and sweet and spicy cuisine being popular in the south, Closeup took a localised approach to its new flavours. With hyper-local insights and designing product sensorials with local preferences in mind, Closeup ensures its products are perfectly suited to the consumer’s tastes.

  2. Mouthfeel matters: Closeup is known for its juicy gels, which have been an important differentiator in Vietnam, where toothpaste has historically been chalk-based. The product needed to offer a smooth mouthfeel and sufficient foaming while brushing.

  3. Our cooling sensation delivers freshness: Closeup toothpaste is well known for menthol cooling and long-lasting freshness. The brand redesigned the flavour to deliver a stronger cooling hit. The gel itself also helps remove 99% of bacteria while brushing, which helps keep you fresh for longer.

The results show Closeup is brushing off the competition

The winning prototype showed a significant shift from the current flavour profile. It scored exceptionally well across the whole market and beat its closest competitor in our tests.

Closeup brought the new toothpaste formulation to market in November 2023. The results have been promising. Product penetration has hit its highest rate in three years.

Closeup already gives millions of people around the world fresher breath and the confidence to get close. Its ongoing commitment to meet shifting consumer tastes should help the brand take an even bigger bite out of Vietnam’s oral care market in the future.

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