El Comando Flúor | Animated short | The Fluoride Squad
Overview
Several reports on oral health in America indicate that dental caries is one of the most common childhood diseases. Despite progress in reducing dental caries, individuals in families living below the poverty level experience more dental decay than those who are economically better off. In addition to poverty, the proportion of teeth affected by dental caries also varies by age and race/ethnicity. At-risk Mexican-American children aged two to nine have the highest number of primary teeth affected by dental caries compared to poor non-Hispanic blacks and non-Hispanic whites according to the report from the Surgeon General.
Challenge
Engage and inform the Latino community, primary Spanish-speaking children and families with young children, on the importance of dental care and oral hygiene, and position our client – Centro (now Centro Tyrone Guzmán) – as the service organization that provides help and resources to better the health and well-being of the Latino community in Minnesota.

Solution
With funding from Centro and the Delta Dental Foundation, Gabriela Harper of The Ñu Group, and Liz Pangerl of Casa Valencia created a one-of-a-kind animated video short for Spanish-speaking Latino children ages two to eight, predominantly of Mexican descent.
Under the guidance of a panel of dental professionals, Gabriela Harper planned and developed the video content and then outlined the creative strategy for the project. Liz Pangerl was an integral part of the strategy team, notably for her knowledge of the target audience as well as her long standing relationship with Centro and their work in the community. It was critical to understand the target audience in order to identify and develop relevant messaging.
The script was conceived and developed in Spanish with culturally relevant and fun characters that speak to both Latino boys and girls. By using the popular Mexican theme of the wrestling hero, the story was able to emotionally connect with young audiences and effectively deliver the key messages in a culturally and linguistically appropriate way. The result was a fun, engaging and educational video that continues to entertain and introduce young audiences to the importance of dental care and hygiene.
The animated short was launched at the Children’s Museum in St. Paul, Minnesota and proved to be a success with remarkable positive feedback from both funders and young local audiences. With the support of the MN Dental Association, the DVD was distributed locally to dental clinics serving the Latino population in the Twin Cities. Centro continues to use it in its own Clinic to promote and encourage changes in current behaviors. Centro is recognized as a pioneer in the community and serves as a model to other organizations for their ability to reach out, inform and serve Latino families.
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