Colgate was the category leader in most markets. But as such, it established the norms for communication, which were entirely focused on product innovations and functional RTBs. These were easy for other brands to mimic, to the point that most people were not paying attention to the category. They were buying on autopilot without a clear emotional link to any brand. Or if they were, it was to new local brands with authentic salience.  By 2015, this started to take its toll on value share and brand health measures, which decreased in key markets like EMEA.​

In this context, Colgate needed to build a strong brand equity, reconnect with culture, and disrupt the category to stabilize value share decline while growing brand distinctiveness and love as a foundation of future growth.

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Our smile is much more than we think. It is an expression of our optimism facing life events and a real choice empowering positive action, impacting ourselves and others. Our smile is our strength.​

It was key to move away from the “cosmetic” smile that Colgate have been promoting for more than 200 years and explore the new territory of real emotions and meaning behind people’s smiles to better connect with people and culture.​

We claimed that “Our Smile is our strength” and supported all those who were smiling against the odds (“I smile” campaign). We championed those who act out of optimism and bring smiles to others (“Smile Stories” campaign). We have shown that “Smiles always find a way”, and challenged the perception that wrinkles are a bad thing, saying that they are a sign a “Lifetime of smiles”. And much more.

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Significant shifts in the brand health in both the UK and France. In UK: 3 point increase in the emotional bond. In France: 5 point increase in both the emotional bond and distinctiveness.

Higher ROI in both UK and France. ROI for Colgate oral care averages at 0.73 in UK and 0.47 in France. The equity campaign ROI was recorded at 0.95 in UK and 0.62 in France, while having a positive effect on sales through the entire portfolio in both countries.

Perceived value of the brand's entire portfolio drove an unprecedented leap in organic growth from -2.5% just before the campaign began to +6.3% after the campaign across UK and FR.

Volume sales were maintained while the investment in media was slashed by 25%.​​

2022 Cannes Silver Lion

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