“Our smile is our strength,” says Colgate. And it surely is: A simple smile can make one feel good, happier. And it is amazing how such emotions can be triggered not only by our smiles but that of others around us too. Sometimes, a smile is powerful enough to help change your or others’ lives for the better. Unveiling a new “Smile Stories” campaign, the Colgate-Palmolive business shows that it stands for optimism in action, wanting to celebrate “those who smile against all the odds.”

Working closely with Red Fuse Communications and VMLY&R France, the brand looks to highlight that a smile is never just a smile, but a powerful expression, an interior force that’s capable of changing one’s life and of those around them.

Colgate preaches this message via three short videos, featuring real-life stories. Viewers get a chance to meet Antonio Vila Gallardo, a restaurant owner who works alongside a chef with Down Syndrome; teacher Nils Wengler who is tutoring children with special needs and anxiety; and Alberto Cabanes, founder of the Adopt-a-Grandparent program. Through these “Smile Stories,” the audience gets to dive deeper into the experiences of those who are bringing optimism to help change the lives of those around them.

Speaking about the campaign, Dimitri Guerassimov, Co-president and Chief Creative Officer, VMLY&R France, said: “We really wanted to spotlight the real doers — those people who not only face the tough realities of our times with optimism but are actually doing something to bring more optimism to others. It’s a tribute to those who help build a future we can all smile about.”

“Optimism is a choice. It is an ability that some people have naturally, others need to be reminded about or taught. But ultimately it resides in each of us to actively choose optimism. With this campaign, we aim at championing and empowering courageous smiles: Celebrating people who chose to smile and spread optimism around them, inspiring and empowering other people to do the same. We want to show that courage and optimism are more contagious than fear,” continues Laurent Cayet, Director of Integrated Marketing Communications, Colgate Palmolive Europe.

To tell the narratives, the Red Fuse team joined forces with Drake Doremus, Sundance Film Festival winner, known for having directed internationally awarded films such as Like Crazy, Douchebag, and Equals. The campaign reminds people of the brand’s core values, consolidating a positive, uplifting, and distinctive statement that strengthens and further connects the company to culture. The three stories are hosted on a digital hub, the brand announcing that more will roll out over the course of the year.


Client: Colgate-Palmolive

Agency: VMLY&R Paris / Red Fuse Communications

Managing Director: Peter Harrison

Global Chief Creative Officer: Fred Saldanha

Chief Creative Officer: Dimitri Guerassimov

Creative Director: Vitor Menezes & Ricardo Dolla

Creatives: David Dominguez, Vitor Menezes & Ricardo Dolla

Business Director: Bruno Toporovschi

Account Director: Sindy Ng

Head of Strategy: Elizabeth Foord

Producer: Barbara Safarova

Director: Drake Doremus

Cinematographer: Marianne Bakke, Juan Gonzales

Production Company: Too late to die young (TLTDY.TV)

Producer: Hervé Humbert

Post-Production: Two Seven Lab Paris