Hopkins : The Pepsodent – man

Dr. Sushil Rudra

His name is Claude Hopkins – an American, famous for his toothpaste” Pepsodent” and became a very rich man for his multi-national businesses. So, he was famous for the name: ” Hopkins: The Pepsodent- man” and it was possible to him for his power of habit.

But how?

It was the early 1900. One day one of his best friends approached Hopkins with a new business idea. The friend had discovered an amazing product. He explained, that he was convinced would be a hit. It was toothpaste, a minty, frothy concoction he called ” Pepsodent”.

There were some dicey investors involved and another, it was rumoured, was connected to the mob – but this venture, the friend promised, was going to be huge. If, this is, Hopkins would consent to help design a national promotional campaign.

We came to know from different sources that, Hopkins, at that time, was at the top of a booming industry that had hardly existed a few decades earlier: advertising.

Hopkins : The Pepsodent – man was business – ads – man who had convinced Americans to buy Schlitz beer by boosting that the company cleaned their bottles ” with live steam”, while neglecting to mention that every other company used the exact same method.

There is another incident, Hopkins: the Pepsodent- man, had succeed to introduce in America. It is Palmolive soap which was used in every household of America by dint of his powerful habits.

He had seduced millions of women into purchasing Palmolive soap by proclaiming that Cleopatra had washed with it, despite the sputtering protests of outraged historians.

Hopkins : The Pepsodent – man, with the power of habits, had to introduce so many items in the market and succeeded.

For example, he had made Puffed Wheat famous by saying that it was ” shot from guns ” until the grains puffed to eight times normal size.

Hopkins had turned dozens of previously unknown products – Quaker Oats, Goodyear tires, the Bissell carpet sweeper, Van Camp’s pork and beans – into household names.

And in process, he had made himself so rich that his best-selling autobiography, My life in Advertising, devoted long passages to the difficulties of spending so much money.


HOPKINS Was best known for a series of rules he coined explaining how to create new habits among consumers. These rules would transform industries and eventually became conventional wisdom among marketers, educational reformers, public health professionals, politicians, and CEOs.

Even today, Hopkins’s rules influence everything from how we buy cleaning supplies to the tools governments use for eradicating the disease. They are fundamental to creating any new routine.

However, when his old friend approached Hopkins about Pepsodent, the ad man expressed only mild interest. It was no secret that the health of Americans’ teeth was in steep decline.

Why such conditions?

As the nation had become wealthier, people had started buying larger amounts of sugary, processed foods. When government started drafting men for World War 1, so many recruits had rotting teeth that officials said poor dental hygiene was a national security risk.

Of course, Hopkins knew that selling toothpaste was financial suicide. He noticed, there was already an army of the door to door salesman hawking dubious tooth powders and panaceas, most of them going broke.

The truth was that hardly anyone bought toothpaste because, despite the nation’s dental problems, hardly anyone brushed their teeth.

Naturally, Hopkins gave his friend’s proposal a bit of thought and then declined. He would stick with soaps and cereals. He said, ” I didn’t see a way to educate the laity in technical tooth-paste theories”- Hopkins explained in his autobiography.

However, his friend was persistent. He didn’t give up his hopes. But again and again continued to appeal to Hopkins. And eventually, as man, Hopkins had considered his friend’s proposal.

He wrote :

” I finally agreed to undertake the campaign if he gave me a six months’ option on a block of stock”.

It would be the wisest financial decision of Hopkins’s life. Within five years of that partnership, Hopkins turned Pepsodent into one of the best known products on earth and, in the process, helped create a tooth-brushing habit that moved across America with startling speed.

Soon, everyone from New York to California and almost all over the country was bragging about their ” PEPSODENT SMILE ”.

Gradually, by 1930, Pepsodent sold in China, South Africa, Brazil, Germany, and almost anywhere else. Hopkins could buy ads. A decade after the first Pepsodent campaign, toothbrushing had become a ritual for more than half the American population.

So, Hopkins was the man who had established toothbrushing as a regular habit.

Of course, there was a secret behind this success. Hopkins would later boast, was that he had found a certain kind of cue and reward that fuelled a particular habit.

It’s an alchemy so powerful that even today the basic principles are still used by food companies, hospitals, and millions of salesmen around the world.

Eugene Pauly taught us about the habit loop, but it’s Claude Hopkins that showed how new habits can be cultivated and grown.

So what he did?

He had created a craving. And that craving, it turns out, is what makes cues and rewards work. That craving is what powers the habit loop.

However, it is found that approximately 43% of daily behaviours are performed out of habits. New behaviours can become automatic through the process of habit formation.

Swami Vivekananda, the great Indian monk, told :

” Habit is one’s second nature, and habit is one’s first nature too. All that is in your nature is the result of habit, and habit is the result of experience”.

However, Hopkins had tried to incorporate the craving into the public that they could purchase and use the items. And succeed.

To sell Pepsodent, Hopkins required a trigger that would justify the toothpaste’s daily use. He also resolved to advertise this toothpaste as a creator of beauty. To get these ideas , Hopkins had to study a pile of dental textbooks.

Hopkins’s Conception Of The PepsodentHabit Loop/Hopkins:the Pepsodent- man/imageThe Pepsodent – man / image: kalpatarurudra.org/jpg

Hopkins wrote:

” It was dry reading… but in the middle of one book I found a reference to the mucin plaques on teeth, which I afterwards called ‘ the film’. That gave me an appealing idea.

I resolved to advertise this toothpaste as a creator of beauty. To deal with that cloudy film.”

Now we will try to understand the feelings of Hopkins about tooth film. In fine, in directing tooth film, Hopkins was ignoring the fact that this same film has always covered people’s teeth. And that’s why he had not seemed to bother anyone.

The film is a naturally occurring membrane. It builds upon teeth regardless of what you eat. Or how often you brush. People had never paid much attention to it. And therefore, there was little reason why they should:

For instance,

You can get rid of the film by eating an apple. Or running your finger over your teeth, brushing. vigorously swirling liquid around your mouth. Toothpaste didn’t do anything to help remove the film.

Some dental researchers also said that all toothpastes – particularly Pepsodent , were worthless. But that didn’t stop Hopkins from exploiting his discovery.

He tried to make a cue that could trigger a habit. Soon, the advertisement of Pepsodent had plastered in the cities.

One is here: ” Just run your tongue across your teeth,”. ” You’ll feel a film – that is what makes your teeth look ” off color” and invites decay.

Another: ” Note how many pretty teeth are seen everywhere.”

Again another ads : ” Millions are using a new method of teeth cleansing. Why would any woman have dingy film on her teeth? Pepsodent removes the film!”

Let’s see the language of the ads. How brilliant it is! The brilliance of these appeals was that they relied upon a cue – tooth film. – that was universal and impossible to ignore.

Hopkins The Pepsodent – man, had found a cue. That was simple, had existed for ages. And it was so easy to trigger that an advertisement could cause people to comply automatically.

Moreover, the reward, as Hopkins envisioned it, was even more enticing. So, it’s clear that everyone want to be more beautiful. Who doesn’t want a brighter smile?

Next, it is history. Within three years, the Pepsodent toothpaste went marketing throughout the world. And within a decade, it was one of the top-selling goods in the world.

Pepsodent remained America’s best – selling toothpaste for three decades.

In American household, only 7%(percent) had a tube of toothpaste in their shelf before Pepsodent came to market.

Read more:The First Love Of Rabindranath Thakur, /

Hopkins started campaigning for Pepsodent in America. During this period, peoples did not purchase any toothpaste.

But after a decade, its consumption had jumped to 65%. At that time American military had to clean their teeth perfectly.

Even there had no provision to recruit orally defected person in the military. So the demand for pepsodent raised.


Therefore, Hopkins got the privilege to marketing Pepsodent massively. ” I made for myself a million dollars on Pepsodent.” He wrote after few years about his success. This product was already on every shelf of the American household.

Again he described in his autobiography – ” The key to success was his deep and profound knowledge of the right human psychology. That psychology had two basic rules: First, find a simple and obvious cue. Second, clearly define the rewards.”

This two rules had acted like magic. He had identified a cue – tooth film and a reward, that’s beautiful teeth. It had persuaded millions to start a daily ritual.

Finally, Hopkins’s ad theory got universal rules into practice in marketing. Motivation & Habit( how to reach the goal/kalpatarurudra.org)

Dr Sushil Rudra


Hopkins: The Pepsodent - man

Hopkins: The Pepsodent - man
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Hopkins the Pepsodent - man was an American, who by virtue of his brilliance intelligence, had succeed in marketing Pepsodent over the people of America and Europe and Asia.
Hopkins the Pepsodent - man was an American, who by virtue of his brilliance intelligence, had succeed in marketing Pepsodent over the people of America and Europe and Asia.

By kalpataru

I'm Dr. Sushil Rudra, residing in Durgapur City West Bengal, India . Studied in The University of Calcutta and did M.A , Ph.D . Also another M.A from Sridhar University. Taught in College and University ( RTU) . Love to write, traveling, singing Rabindrasangeet and social work. Have some books authored by me. Vivekananda and Rabibdranath both are my favourite subject. I have written more than 150 articles in my wordpress.com blog( kalpataru.home.blog and now I'm writing in my new " http://www.kalpatarurudra.org blog.

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