by Alan Ruskin

Ben Z. Mibab, DDS, MS, PC, uses jet skis and celebrities to help market his practice

If you happen to be visiting a public or school swimming pool in the Alpharetta, Ga, area, you might notice something a little different floating atop the water: an inflatable rubber jet ski, with letters spelling “Mibab” inscribed boldly across it. A closer look reveals the word “Orthodontics,” because you are gazing at the promotional wizardry of Ben Z. Mibab, DDS, MS, PC, whose talent for putting fun into the business of braces has helped him create a thriving practice.

Floating Good Times

What does a jet ski have to do with orthodontics? “Absolutely nothing,” Mibab gleefully responds, “but it means fun and good times, and that’s what I want my patients to equate with my service. I wanted to incorporate one of my hobbies, so I designed a colorful inflatable jet ski with my logo on it.” The front end of the jet ski features a blow-up of Mibab’s business card showing a stylized set of teeth before, during, and after braces.

Mibab has been jet-skiing since his boyhood days in Jacksonville, Fla, where his family moved just 3 months after his birth in New York City. When he decided to make the sport the core of his promotional presentation, “I brought marketing to a different level,” Mibab reflects. Alpharetta, a suburb of Atlanta, has plenty of school and neighborhood pools that end up hosting his jet ski after Mibab gives a presentation on a school career day. “It allows me to get students involved,” he says. “The kids enjoy playing with them.”

Mibab wants that energetic mood to carry over into his work. From his “bubbly” Web site (whose header is “Riding the Waves to a Winning Smile”), to his unique business cards, to the toy jet skis placed judiciously throughout the community, the jet ski has become associated with Mibab Orthodontics and has even penetrated some local establishments. “One jet ski is hanging up in my favorite lunch spot, Fancy Pantry, where I run into many parents and local dentists.” He also distributes the jet skis to dentists’ offices.

The T-shirt Photo Contest

The jet ski isn’t the only recognizable Mibab promo around town. There are also T-shirts, again emblazoned with his logo. Mibab doesn’t stop at just giving them out, though. He has an ongoing T-shirt Photo Contest, encouraging patients to submit photos of themselves wearing the shirts. The photos are divided into three categories: the patient poses with a celebrity or professional athlete, in a funny situation, or in an exotic location. In the latter category, Mibab tells of a family who went on a European vacation and reported back to him that their “most memorable experiences were planning the backgrounds for wearing their Mibab T-shirts.” One creative patient, while on her New York vacation, Photoshopped her face and Mibab T-shirt onto the Statue of Liberty.

Mibab is certainly not shy when it comes to mixing with celebrities. His “Wall of Fame” includes photos of himself (wearing his Mibab T-shirt, of course), with such notables as Magic Johnson, Paris Hilton, Tommy Hilfiger, Carmen Electra, and Chris Rock. His patient list includes players from the Atlanta Falcons NFL football team and beauty queens such as Miss Georgia 2000.

Winners of the photo contest receive a mall gift certificate and get their prize photos posted on Mibab’s Web site and in the office scrapbook, “a conversation piece that breaks the ice with new patients,” Mibab says.

More Fun and Games

Halloween is an annual highlight at Mibab’s office, giving the staff a chance to demonstrate their creativity by dressing in costume—but the fun atmosphere is pretty much a year-round thing. Contests include summer postcard competitions and playing Web games such as Hexxagon and Simon to win prizes. Patients who wear their Mibab T-shirts to appointments get their names entered into a monthly drawing for a gift certificate.

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Mibab uses all the fun and games to motivate people. “These are fun ways to encourage patients to keep their teeth and braces clean and wear the elastics,” he says. “The T-shirts help get patients involved. Parents tell me the T-shirts go on every vacation.”

A light-hearted, entertaining atmosphere, including a waiting room equipped with the latest video games, helps patients enjoy going to the orthodontist. “It also attracts patients’ younger siblings,” Mibab notes, “getting them accustomed to the office they may one day visit as patients themselves.”

Alan Ruskin is a staff writer for Orthodontic Products.