Ad Nut
Jan 17, 2022

Colgate-Palmolive brings 'smile' campaign to Philippines

The latest iteration of a campaign, launched in Thailand and Malaysia, seeks to lift the mood in a Covid-ravaged market, even if the spectre of the pandemic is entirely missing from the film.

Since September 2020, Colgate-Palmolive has been using the power of a smile to encourage a positive outlook on life, despite the trying circumstances of the pandemic. It launched the push in Thailand with its Yimsu campaign by Ogilvy and dedicated shop Red Fuse, and followed it up in Malaysia with another series on smiling in challenging circumstances. Now the dental-care brand has extended the campaign to The Philippines. 

In a country battered by the pandemic, the sense of “pangiti-ngiti lang” (just smiling through it) has been prevalent, and the brand and agencies wanted to seek out personalities who typified this outlook. By sheer chance, Marlon Fuentes, a Grab driver who has Tourette’s syndrome was discovered by a team member who took a ride in his car. He became the face of the campaign. 

The film above shows the struggle Fuentes faces, typified by a woman who leaps out of his car mid-ride, spooked by his physiological symptoms. Fuentes persists with his work—aided by a handy card explaining his condition—-and we see that he wins over many passengers. 

After a rough couple of pandemic-drenched years, this nut has always welcomed any positive sentiment from adland, and this series from Colgate is no exception. Highlighting people who battle and surmount difficult circumstances (aided by a dazzling smile to lift the mood) is a great way for the brand to wedge itself into consumers' minds. 

That said, Ad Nut finds it strange that the film has been made as if Covid doesn't exist at all. Throughout it, neither the passengers nor Fuentes, who is likely most in danger, are wearing masks. Perhaps circumstances were different when the film was shot. But with the Omicron variant resulting in more than 33,000 daily cases in The Philippines, the lack of masks, or a shield separating the driver and passengers, is seriously jarring.

Ad Nut can understand the logic for by brand choosing not to show overt evidence of the pandemic in such a film; you don't want every film to be about the pandemic. And anyway, Colgate really needs to show smiles in a campaign that's literally about smiles. But at the same time, not showing the pandemic's impact at all might make you look out of touch with the sentiments of embattled consumers. 


Dino Ocampo - Executive Creative Director
Red Cajucom - Associate Creative Director
Marc De Vera - Associate Creative Director
Julian Garcia – Senior Copywriter
Ryan Tabag - Senior Copywriter
Nadine Layon – Art Director
John Caseda – Art Director
Mawie Borja – Art Director
Ciox Laurino – Business Director
Caloy Sambrano – Managing Director
Julianna Hechanova – Account Director
Alyssa Uy – Senior Account Manager
Shayne Mercado – Program Director
Kelly Oliveros – Senior Account Manager (PR)
Lia Malferrari - Associate Strategy Director
Lyssa Ajero – Associate Strategist
Kenny Choo - Regional Executive Creative Director
Daniel Cullen - Regional Client Service Director\
Clara Roxas - Senior Copywriter

Ad Nut is a surprisingly literate woodland creature that for unknown reasons has an unhealthy obsession with advertising. Ad Nut gathers ads from all over Asia and the world for your viewing pleasure, because Ad Nut loves you. You can also check out Ad Nut's Advertising Hall of Fame, or read about Ad Nut's strange obsession with 'murderous beasts'.


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