Wednesday, March 10, 12:30 PM PST

Colgate, Crest Unite to Crush Aquafresh

by Brent the Johnson,
NA!P NewsWire

CINCINNATI, Ohio -- In a maneuver of historic proportions, the makers of Colgate- and Crest-brand toothpastes have joined forces to "utterly wipe out" Aquafresh, the only toothpaste on the market with three colors.

While reportedly considering the alliance for several years, the companies finally decided to act on the same day that Aquafresh introduced its new floss-and-toothpaste combo product -- known as "Floss 'n' Cap" -- which comes in "Cinnamon Splash" and "Whitening Cool Mint" flavors.

However, Crest and Colgate denied the connection, even as they refused to confirm exactly why they're going after Aquafresh.

One Internet rumor making the rounds describes Crest -- which had recently introduced "Crest Whitening Expression Fresh Cinnamon Rush" -- as fearful that its cinnamon paste couldn't compete with Aquafresh's Cinnamon Splash.

"Maybe Crest did worry it was easier to say 'Aquafresh Cinnamon Splash' than 'Crest Whitening Expression Fresh Cinnamon Splash," conceded industry analyst Kevin Kraeger. "But I really doubt that led to this all-or-nothing war between the pastes."

Some consumers seem to disagree with Kraeger's assessment.

"d00d teh Agu@fr3$h hav teh fre3waRez fl0sS" stated one anonymous emailer. "Kr3s7 suX0rZ, w1LL aspl0d3!"

Crest officials seemed unimpressed with that idea.

"Yeah, free floss, that's sooo scary. Meanwhile, we put Scratch-n-Sniff stickers on our Cinnamon Rush boxes -- because we're all that!" said Derrick Stanlington, vice-president of Proctor & Gamble's Crest Division, snapping his fingers for effect.

Meanwhile, leaked internal documents appear to outline both Colgate and Crest's motivation for declaring toothpaste Armageddon: Apparently, both companies fear Aquafresh will move away from its "kinda fruity" tri-color presentation and venture into two-color or even solid-color pastes, which long have been the domains of the two industry leaders.

Kraeger and other industry analysts are already writing the eulogy of the toothpaste world's No. 3 brand.

"Aquafresh is in deep, deep trouble," Kraeger said. "Crest and Colgate account for over 57 percent of the toothpaste market share, while Aquafresh only has 10.5 percent. 'Fresh is dead, man. 'Fresh is dead."

"Used to be, Aquafresh could play Colgate and Crest against each other," reminisced Dino Mortatelli, another analyst. "Aquafresh will never be king, but it's definitely a kingmaker. Well, was, that is."

Shares of GlaxoSmithKline (GSK), the parent company of Aquafresh, fell sharply from $41.94 a share to $41.92.

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