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A former biochemist and nutritionist, Robert "Dr. Bob" Wagstaff invented the Orabrush tongue cleaner in the early 2000s to help cure bad breath (90 percent of bad breath comes from bacteria on the tongue). After a decade, however, he'd made little traction with his invention: retailers didn't want it, oral care companies weren't interested in buying his patent, and a costly infomercial sold only 100 orders.
In a last ditch effort at age 75, he approached a university marketing class in 2009 and encountered a student who said he could sell the product on YouTube. Offering the student his motorcycle as payment, Dr. Bob found success after years of false starts when a $500 video, marketing the tongue cleaner as a bad breath remedy, went viral and started a YouTube advertising strategy.
Dr. Bob began receiving a flood of inquiries from distributors around the world asking to carry his product in their stores. As a result, Orabrush became one of the first products to go from no sales, online or offline, to full worldwide distribution using YouTube videos exclusively.
More videos followed, including the web series "Diary of a Dirty Tongue", featuring Morgan the Orabrush Tongue. These videos were part of Orabrush's YouTube "reverse marketing model" to drive retail sales and funnel traffic to its website fueling its e-commerce business.
From its humble beginnings in Dr. Bob's basement workshop, Orabrush is now sold in more than 30,000 stores in 25 countries. It has become the #1 tongue cleaner in the world, according to IRI data, and been featured in The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, USA Today and on ABC's Nightline.
In 2012 at age 78, Dr. Bob unveiled his second invention - Orapup, the first tongue cleaner to help cure bad dog breath without a toothbrush. Long a source of frustration for pet owners, proper oral care is a treat with the Orapup because it entices dogs to clean their own tongues.
Today, Orabrush is working with other companies to build their brands online, including Poo-Pourri. Through its ad-technology division, Orabrush plans to streamline and scale the YouTube marketing model that contributed to its worldwide success.
Beloved by millions of people all around the world, Orabrush is proof that bad breath can be good business.