Thursday, February 14, 2013

Tooth Tune Stands Test of Time

Queen can certainly lay claim to playing in front of tens of thousands of people at one time in arenas and stadiums where the sound is optimized for that particular venue. But I don’t think they anticipated having their music played through a “denta-mandibular sound-transmitting system.” That’s patent lingo for Tooth Tunes toothbrushes.

The physics behind the technology would make Brian proud. “. . . a small CPU in the handle plays the featured song on the chip by transferring vibrations through the bristles, which act as transducers, into the front teeth, through the jawbone, and into the inner ear.”

I actually picked one up at the drug store the other day thinking that our five-year-old might be easily duped into brushing his teeth for a full two minutes. He’s been on a WWRY kick lately that has him continually requesting the Queen + vonlichten version whenever we’re in the car, so why not keep the momentum going?

Out of interest, I checked out the Tooth Tunes website to see what other song choices there were and to my surprise the 2012 edition of brushes has Queen sharing the youth tooth market with artists that are a lot younger than themselves.

How did that happen? Were they selected merely through a voting system as their current website prompts you to do? Did WWRY survive the voting system going all the way back to 2005 when Hasbro first marketed the toothbrushes and has maintained the status quo ever since; up to and including its current manufacturer, Arm & Hammer? It kinda looks that way.

Tooth Tunes was originally marketed by Hasbro in 2005 with an expanding song list that’s included:

Walking on Sunshine by Aly & AJ
Fun, Fun, Fun by The Beach Boys
Let’s Get It Started by The Black Eyed Peas
Play My Music by The Jonas Brothers
The Party’s Just Begun by The Cheetah Girls
Shake a Tail Feather by The Cheetah Girls
Survivor by Destiny’s Child
Brush It! by Devo
Get'cha Head In the Game by Drew Seeley and Zac Efron
The Best of Both Worlds by Hannah Montana
Pumpin’ Up the Party by Hannah Montana
Rockstar by Hannah Montana
We're All in this Together by High School Musical Cast
What Time Is It? by High School Musical Cast
Wake Up by Hilary Duff
Canned Heat by Jamiroquai
Beautiful Soul by Jesse McCartney
Hold On by The Jonas Brothers
Walk Away by Kelly Clarkson
Rock and Roll All Nite by Kiss
All Star by Smash Mouth
Ser o Parecer by RBD
Umbrella by Rihanna
We Will Rock You by Queen
YMCA by The Village People
Gonna Fly Now (Theme from Rocky) by DeEtta Little and Nelson Pigford
Never Say Never by Justin Bieber

Hey, look who’s on there twice. . . Cheetah Girls. Hannah Montana. The cast from High School Musical. I wonder if they’ll be helping the youth brush their teeth in the year 2037, which is essentially what WWRY is accomplishing. Do any of these artists have a 30-year shelf-life? Time will tell, I guess. Come to think of it, everyone thought that Bieber’s 15 minutes was up five years ago, so who knows.

I stumbled upon a fun little how-to project where Marty from Southeast Michigan (un)breaks apart a Tooth Tunes toothbrush, just to see how the technology works. Wouldn’t you know it? He had to pick the WWRY brush. (Who oh why couldn’t he have chosen Hilary Duff’s or The Village People’s?) It’s not for the faint of heart, but here’s a link to his photo essay on the breakdown of the brush.

It does make one wonder how Queen lasted so long in this series of toothbrushes and through two different manufacturers who presumably would have a mechanism in place to select relevant songs for the demographic they’re selling to. If the average toothbrush user of this product is in their tweens, that would explain most of the song selections. But Kiss and Queen?

Ironically, Gene Simmons, the king of licensing, didn’t win this marathon of a licensing deal but Queen did. Was it the fan voting that got everyone kicked off the island (so to speak) and Queen won through honest-to-goodness popularity, or was the Hasbro and Arm & Hammer marketing teams playing a role in keeping Queen on the list? Hmm, inquiring minds want to know.


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