Always putting off the dentist? Don't panic - Dentapple has changed the context of an everyday item to cater to your health & wellness needs

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The latest stop for our Featured Innovators series? Japan, where we caught up with Shota Hatanaka, the Creative Director of Hakuhodo to discuss one of their recent innovations, Dentapple - a line of apples that included free, personalised dental consultations - that has appeared in not one but two (!) of our free briefings, BUILT-IN BRANDS and THE FUTURE OF BETTERMENT

What was the inspiration behind Dentapple?

From old times, biting an apple has been a symbol for excellent teeth. In fact, there are many dental clinics using apples as their visual identity, so we utilized the hardness of the apple in Matsumoto and transformed it into an apple that can detect the health status of the teeth.

What have been the biggest challenges you’ve faced while both developing the idea and establishing yourselves within the market?

'The Design of Dentapple' that is what we discussed more than anything. In the beginning, we had idea to make the shape of apple in line with the shape of teeth. However, considering the cost of that level of production and then to distribute it widely, we decided it was better to simply putt sticker on the apple, rather than changing the shape itself.

Dentapple - on location!

What is your top tip to other professionals who seek to better understand, and stay ahead of, consumers’ changing expectations?

I think that a great tip to better understand consumer is “be a consumer yourself anytime”. If you are not moved by the communication or idea that you have created, it's likely that consumers won't be moved either. The important thing is whether you can be an ordinary consumer anytime, rather than a marketer or creator!

You’re featured in our briefing covering our DISTRIBUTED DIAGNOSIS trend - covering new, innovative and seamless ways to access health and wellness services. Where do you see this strand of consumer behavior and expectation heading?

Innovations in mobile technology give consumers better ways to know their health conditions. But the thing is people still don’t care for their health that much. It’s really hard to change peoples's health behavior and perception just through the mobile technology that's been developed.

So we decided to add an idea onto their daily behavior, one that already existed: ‘biting an apple’. We gave it the function of dental checkup. We gave a meaning to what they do everyday, allowing them to be able to know their health conditions better.

What was your favorite recent innovation and why?

It’s called ‘MotoRepellent’, small fly spray device attached to motorcycles in Thailand (an innovation that, like Dentapple, featured in our Asia Trend Briefing from back in April, BUILT-IN BRANDS - editor). MotoRepellent is a light-weight, mobile device filled with non-toxic mosquito repelling oil and magnetically attached to the end of a motorcycle's exhaust pipe. Heat from the exhaust activates the oil and mosquito-repelling scent is propelled out into the air via exhaust pressure. It changes the motorcycle to a motorised fly spray.

It’s also an idea that add an meaning on people's daily behavior that already exists: just ride the motorcycle everyday to become the innovative way to kill mosquitos.

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