Colgate and VML partnered with Steeden to develop 'Hear Gear', a protective headgear equipped with specialised technology to assist Deaf and hard of hearing Australian rules football players with hearing implants on the field.

Colgate x VMLYR and Steeden Hear Gear
Colgate believes that everyone deserves a future to smile about. To realise that promise we've worked with VML and Steeden to develop Hear Gear, as a truly meaningful expression of our Smile Strong platform. The project is inspired by Jamie Howell's real life experience and could have wide-reaching effects in Australia. Now, we've moved from telling stories to actively creating them.

Anthony Crewes

Marketing Director Colgate-Palmolive, South Pacific

Colgate is the major sponsor of Australia's national sport AFL. A team sport where communication is key. But 1 in 6 Aussies experience some form of hearing loss. Leaving hundreds of AFL hopefuls on the side lines.

'The Sound of a Smile’ is a brand campaigned designed to take advantage of Colgate’s sponsorship of AFL and courageously, there wasn’t a single tube of toothpaste in sight.

We featured QAFLW athlete Jamie Howell and Brisbane’s Yeronga Devils. Telling Jamie’s inspiring story as a deaf athlete and her journey with her team – highlighting the difficulty she experienced becoming ‘deaf’ on the field every time she put her protective head gear on (as it placed pressure on her cochlear implant).

Hear Gear is the first headgear designed specifically for Deaf athletes. Traditional headgear uses soundproof padding to protect the wearer.

But Hear Gear uses a new mould with specially designed material that channels sond waves directly into the implants microphone, while still protecting the wearer. Since the placement of each implant is unique to the individual, Hear Gear can be designed to accomodate a variety of positions.

Hear Gear evens the playing field across all contact sports. Ensuring not just AFL players, but an entire nation of athletes can smile strong.

Colgate funded $50,000 into the first production run of Hear Gears via Steeden so more Deaf athletes can get access to Hear Gear.

$700k earned media, 8x client budget spent with 40+ appearances in national news.

Every unit allocated in the first production run of Hear Gear.

90% improved clarity of sound during Jamie's training.

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