Crest loves Halloween. Crest NEEDS Halloween. The toothpaste brand from Proctor & Gamble decided this year that if you can't beat 'em, make 'em laugh.
It is NOT recommending that people hand out toothbrushes and floss to trick or treaters. Instead, give the kids what they want — candy.
The company has embraced America's annual (high fructose corn syrup) sugar high with a hilarious video showing the honest reactions of children who are taste-testing new "healthy" candies made of asparagus and tofu.
"It's disgusting," said one little boy.
"It's, like, the worst thing I've ever tasted," said another, who spit pieces of the new candy into his spaceman helmet.
Halloween "is the torture test day for your mouth," said Rishi Dhingra, marketing director for P&G Oral Care. "I think Halloween is a very natural day that Crest and Oral B should own." His team created the video to reach the very people eating themselves sick this holiday. "Because you're covered with Crest and Oral B, you can really enjoy and indulge."
P&G worked with ad agency Publicis Kaplan Thaler and director J. J. Adler. They held a casting call to find outgoing kids comfortable in front of a camera. "They were coming in thinking they'll get some really delicious sugar candies," Dhingra said. They had no idea the candy would taste like broccoli, and he said all of their reactions were completely unscripted and real. "Some of them had a very natural reaction."
As the little girl eats a new "artichoke buttercup," the candy goes in … and immediately comes right back out.
"I threw up," she said.
"You threw up?" replied the man calmly running the taste test. "OK."
Wait, Crest shows a kid throwing up? Dhingra said, "We discussed and debated whether we put it in." However, he said the scene stayed in because Adriana did not seem particularly bothered. "She was so nonchalant about it ... and just went on, which we thought was very watchable so we kept it in the film. We made sure that the parents were in the back, so if the kids weren't feeling too well, we could always pull them out, but every kid chose to stay right 'til the end."
Dhingra said the spot cost much less to make than a normal 30-second television commercial. In fact, P&G did cut the 90-second video down to 30 seconds in case the company decided to run it on TV, but, "We're not putting it on television at all."
It's getting so much play on YouTube and trending on Twitter that the company doesn't feel the need to air it. "We're pretty pleased so far," he said.
Is the video selling toothpaste? "We hope it does," he said. There is a coupon viewers can click on at the end of the video for a discount when buying Crest.
—By CNBC's Jane Wells; Follow her on Twitter: @janewells