Ad Nut
Oct 27, 2020

Colgate turns on smile-power campaign in Malaysia

Campaign by Ogilvy Malaysia and Red Fuse features an activist, an artist and an up-and-coming rapper as it asks Malaysia to 'Smile strong together'.

Following the recent launch of a similarly themed campaign in Thailand (see "Smile-fight: Colgate Thailand promotes grin power") Colgate has launched a campaign asking Malaysia to 'Smile strong bersama [together]'. 

The campaign, created by Ogilvy Malaysia in partnership with Red Fuse, WPP’s integrated global team for Colgate-Palmolive, starts today and will be "a continuous and enduring multi-year campaign", according to the companies.

The campaign features the anchor film shown above and long-form content about each of the three people featured in that film. It spans TV, digital, in-store, e-commerce and public relations, including a “Donate a Smile” web platform and an Instagram filter. For every five 'smiles' collected, Colgate promises to send a 'Box of Smiles' (Colgate products) to marginalised communities and refugees in Malaysia.

Like the Thailand work mentioned above, the campaign spotlights some worthy young people and strikes a strong note of positivity and perseverance, which is what the brand intends. So says Amanda Klemm, marketing director for Malaysia, Singapore, Brunei and Indonesia:

When faced with uncertainty and negativity, everyone has a choice. A choice to back down to fear or helplessness, or to choose to let your positivity shine through. ... We want to celebrate those who choose to smile in the face of corrosive pessimism and champion #SmileStrongBersama to make our world better.

Now for quibbles.

First, in the film, Ad Nut finds it jarring that some of the featured people remove their face masks at seemingly inappropriate times. For example, the first woman featured, Heidy Quah, removes and replaces her mask a couple of times for no readily apparent reason, leaving her maskless in the presence of a child and a woman in labour, both of whom are also maskless.

Ad Nut is not without compassion for the makers of toothpaste ads—who after all need to show straight, white teeth at some point—but suggests that these moments could have been handled a bit better so as to model safer behaviours.

Second, about the 'Box of smiles'. Sending a box of product is pretty much the lowest-effort thing a brand can do, and according to the brand's own statements here, it will only happen after consumers 'donate' a sufficient number of smiles. There's nothing wrong with encouraging positive action, but Ad Nut devoutly hopes that Colgate-Palmolive is in reality helping out marginalised communities and refugees regardless of whether people 'donate'. Ad Nut also humbly suggests that ongoing monetary donations might be more helpful to those communities than a box of toothpaste and anti-plaque mouthwash.


Vice-President Marketing APAC: Yves Briantais
Regional Marketing Director – Integrated Marketing Communications: Lyndon Morant

Marketing Director: Amanda Klemm
Senior Brand Manager: Jill Yeap
IMC Manager: Mei Ling Tan

Executive Creative Director: Kurt Novack
Copywriters: Keeta Brennan, Abiseshana Mohan
Art Directors: Lim Chia Wei, Liew Jing Han,
Account Management: Caroline Tan, Denise Lee, Kelsey Rabindran
Strat. Planning: Srikeit Tadepalle
Program Director: Julie Saw
AV Director: Eric Yan
AV Producer: Loo Seng Tuck
Art Buyer Manager: Mandy Lee

Managing Director: Caroline Slocombe
Regional Executive Creative Director: Kenny Choo
Regional Creative Director: Troy Lim
Regional Client Servicing Director: Daniel Cullen
Regional Account Director: Brendan Dunstan Smith
Head of Strategy: Farheen Romani
Regional Strategist: Roshni Mahbubani

Film Director: Farouk Aljoffery
Executive Producer: Prinz Jones
Director of Photography: Ricky Lim
Producer: Lutfy Latiff
Post Production: Johnny Chuah, Entropy
Audio Production: Two AM Music Studios
Audio House : Two AM Music Studios
Composer : Adriane Palikat

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'.


Campaign Asia

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