Tale of the Tape
She's not alone. Since their introduction in the U.S. last October, PocketPaks—which are 1.25-in.-long translucent green strips (price: $1.69 for 24) that dissolve on the tongue into a splash of Cool Mint-flavored Listerine mouthwash—have become the fastest-selling breath freshener, generating more than $100 million in sales. "It's like: We can send a man to the moon, but the best we could do for halitosis was a Tic Tac?" says Advertising Age columnist Bob Garfield. "PocketPaks represent a great leap forward."
Inspired in 1996 by an edible paper he had seen in Japan, D'Souza, a Pfizer vice president who immigrated to the U.S. from Pakistan in 1978, spent 18 months with a team of dozens of scientists creating the strip. "First it stuck to the roof of our mouths," he says. "Then it was too brittle, and at times it was so strong people's eyes would tear up."
Today D'Souza, 47—who lives in Randolph, N.J., with his home-maker wife, Venetia, 46, son Russell, 17, and fraternal twins Adrian and Alicia, 16—also carries the title Cool Dad. As Russell recently proclaimed of PocketPaks: "These are chick magnets!"