Practicon as surprised as anyone by the success of its ‘creepy cool’ calendar

December 6, 2012

In case you live in a world without Facebook and where your friends and colleagues don’t email you funny dental stories, then you may not know about the viral phenomenon that has grown up around the release of Practicon’s 2013 calendar.

In case you live in a world without Facebook and where your friends and colleagues don’t email you funny dental stories, then you may not know about the viral phenomenon that has grown up around the release of Practicon’s 2013 calendar.

The calendar, which features the faces of Frasaco USA’s dental training mannequins PhotoShopped onto the bodies of happy stock-photo humans, became an internet hit-and the ultimate hipster holiday gift-when Gawker.com ran this article.

Of the admittedly disarming photos, Gawker said: “Wondering what to get the person who has everything? Why not one of these lovely calendars from dental supply company Practicon? Each month is accompanied by a photo of Practicon's dental mannequins, dressed up and having fun. It's heartwarming - and completely and utterly terrifying.”

This post by Gawker, a web publishing behemoth and leading arbiter of geek cool, has positioned the calendar as the must-have hipster holiday gift and touched off the biggest viral web event seen in dentistry since David After Dentist. 

Practicon President Scott Griffin says he’s as surprised as anyone at the web’s reaction.

Dental Products Report caught up with Griffin while he was still trying to make sense of the attention the calendar phenomenon has brought his dental distribution company. He seems sincerely amused and pleased by the attention and says his team has barely been able to keep up with the phone calls and emails that have poured in from people wanting to get their hands on the calendar. (You can get it here.) The company has received appearance requests from national TV news outlets and emails from websites none of the team has ever heard of. Frasaco, the German company that makes the mannequins, has called trying to understand why their dummies are suddenly everywhere.

So is Griffin the viral marketing genius some commenters are saying he is?

“I hate to admit it, but no,” Griffin said. “I wish I could say we cracked the code on this, but the fact is we just wanted to make a little calendar as a gift for our customers.”

This is actually the second edition of the calendar, which was conceived and created last year by one of Practicon’s designers.

“I can’t explain it,” Griffin says. “It just seems to have struck a nerve.”

And while the calendar may prove to be a surprise Q4 profit center for the dental distributor, Griffin says he has no plans to go into the calendar publishing business. For those of you who don’t know, Practicon’s real business is marketing and distributing dental products, with a focus on high-quality, lesser known brands. They don’t make the mannequin; they distribute it. Frasaco USA is the manufacturer. (Get it right, Gawker.)

Steve Diogo is Dental Products Report Digital Media Director. Follow him on Twitter: @steve_diogo.