In a context where the Colgate brand appeared less and less differentiating in the eyes of the market, the challenge consisted of building strong brand equity, reconnecting with the culture and disrupting the category while reinforcing the distinctive character and love of the brand as a basis for future growth.


Colgate was the category leader in most markets. The brand has set the standards for communication, focusing on product innovations and functional RTBs. It was easy for other brands to imitate them, to the point that most people didn't pay attention to the category. They were buying on autopilot, without a clear emotional connection to a brand. Or, if they did, it was for new local brands with authentic brand awareness. In 2015, this began to impact value share and brand health metrics, which declined in key markets like EMEA.​

Against this backdrop, Colgate had to build strong brand equity, reconnect with culture, and disrupt the category to stabilize declining value share while reinforcing brand distinctiveness and love as a foundation for future growth.


Our smile is much more than we think. It is the expression of our optimism in the face of life events and a real choice that allows us to act positively, with an impact on ourselves and others. Our smile is our strength.​

It was essential to move away from the "cosmetic" smile that Colgate has promoted for over 200 years and explore the new territory of real emotions and meaning behind people's smiles to better connect with people and culture. ​

We affirmed that “Our smile is our strength” and supported all those who smiled against all odds (“I smile” campaign). We defended those who act with optimism and bring smiles to others (“Smile Stories” campaign). We showed that "smiles always find a way" and we challenged the idea that wrinkles are a bad thing, saying they are the sign of a "lifetime of smiles." And many more.


Significant changes in brand health in the UK and France. In the United Kingdom: increase of 3 points in emotional connection. In France: Increase of 5 points in emotional connection and distinctiveness.

Higher return on investment in the UK and France. The average return on investment for Colgate oral care products is 0.73 in the UK and 0.47 in France. The return on investment for the equity campaign was 0.95 in the UK and 0.62 in France, while having a positive effect on sales of the entire portfolio in both countries.

The perceived value of the brand's entire portfolio led to an unprecedented jump in organic growth, from -2.5% just before the start of the campaign to +6.3% after the campaign in the UK and France.​

​Volume sales were maintained while media investment was reduced by 25%.


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2022 Cannes Lions

2022 Cannes Lions

Creative Strategy