Program Drives Nearly 5 Million Visitors to the AAO Consumer Website

In 2020, the House of Delegates voted to reduce the AAO member Consumer Awareness Program (CAP) assessment from $600 to $300 to provide relief from the effect of pandemic-related office closures. Nonetheless, the AAO continued to show strong results in consumer awareness, powered by award-winning campaigns and innovative concepts.

In total, the CAP drove over 4.8 million visitors to the consumer website,, in fiscal year 2020-2021. Despite a decreased overall spend of 21% less than the previous year, the AAO was able to optimize our campaigns, searching for high quality traffic and receptive consumers. This strategy yielded growth in two key metrics:

● Session duration (or time an individual spends on the website) increased 15%.
● Use of the AAO “Find an Orthodontist” locator increased by 150% year-over-year.

The AAO Consumer Awareness Program (CAP) is the only mass-market campaign designed to introduce the benefits of orthodontic treatment. Key to the campaign – particularly in today’s world of direct-to-consumer everything – is promoting the importance and value of receiving care from qualified professionals, namely, orthodontists.

The digitally focused effort uses a wide range of free and paid tactics to drive traffic to AAO’s consumer website. As the AAO uses digital tools to reach consumers, we continue to post to major social media channels on a regular basis with informative, entertaining and engaging content.

In total, AAO ads appeared on platforms like Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat, Google search, display and YouTube nearly 370 million times in 2020-21. Meanwhile, prospective patients clicked these AAO advertisements nearly 6.8 million times. All told, AAO video content was viewed nearly 60 million times on just Facebook, Instagram and YouTube.

In 2020-21, the AAO also unveiled several consumer campaigns that garnered attention from marketing professionals around the United States. In February, the AAO had the privilege of being recognized at the 2021 American Advertising Awards (ADDY Awards) in Saint Louis, the home of the AAO headquarters. The AAO was considered for these awards based on our work on the Consumer Awareness Program (CAP) campaign, Happy Mouth Now.

Happy Mouth Now is a light-hearted, parody video series launched in 2020 that addresses direct-to-consumer orthodontics. The campaign contains social media and YouTube ads that drive consumers to a branded landing page, driving home the messaging that the risks of not seeing an orthodontist in person are very real.

Of the three finalists submitted, the AAO took home two Gold ADDYs in the category of Branded Content & Entertainment — one for single entry in its category and another for the full campaign. Our third finalist received a Silver ADDY in single entry in the same category.

The AAO’s consumer-facing content has attracted attention from a number of advertising organizations. Previously, AdWeek, an advertising trade publication frequented by global advertising creators, highlighted the Happy Mouth Now campaign in 2020, calling it the AAO’s “most significant foray into content marketing.”

Later in 2020, the AAO released The Precocious Kid, an advertising campaign set around a sharp-witted kid with an affinity for household chores. These videos convey the importance of children seeing an orthodontic professional by age 7. Debuting with “Under the Bread” and continuing with “The Leaky Faucet” and “The Laundry,” social media posts showcasing the new CAP videos take users to the Find an Orthodontist locator.

During its first month, the Precocious Kid campaign reached over 9.5 million individuals in the United States, Canada, and Puerto Rico, garnering more than 25 million impressions (instances of the AAO video ad appearing before a consumer). Stay tuned for more AAO advertising campaigns in the near future.

As an AAO member, you have full access to the AAO’s digital library for use in your own practice. Member practices can download and customize these materials for your own practice, and share them in posts, ads, and more. Access materials, view state-by-state CAP statistics, and learn more at