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Smile Strong Bersama! - #BehindTheIdea

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Never before we need to be reminded what a smile looks like. With the world still under global restrictions as the vaccines roll out, people are still wearing masks when moving around and we're still (well, not everybody) observing social distancing rules. Togetherness matters. And 2020 has taught us that we can do it, even while apart.

A beautiful campaign by Colgate Malaysia last year reminded us all about the value of a good smile, with a positive spin to add togetherness due to the Corona-crisis. In about 60 seconds, the film below shows amazing stories of success, endurance and resilience from the Malaysian community, effectively bringing a smile on everybody's face.

We got in touch with the creative team at Ogilvy Malaysia to get Behind the Idea and learn more about what brought this lovely campaign to life.

 

What was the brief?

The brief was to roll out the new Colgate brand positioning of smiling strong in the face of pessimism and adversity. The Malaysian spin was to add the ‘togetherness’ aspect due to the tough times we are going through in and the need to smile strong together as a nation in all its diversity and differences. 

How did the initial pitch/brainstorming phase go?

As with all clients, we really try to understand their needs, identify the issue we are trying to address and how we can relate to the audience built on our insights in knowing Malaysians best. For Colgate, we identified what we called our ‘muses’ and the issues that they were facing. We decided that our muses needed to represent different aspects of Malaysian society to be able to really reach out to those in need and try to make a concrete difference.

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Tell us more about the concept. Why was it the right choice?

Smile Strong is about optimism and facing the negativity and naysayers with a positive attitude. It is about not letting pessimism stop you in your quest to change the world that we live in. We choose people as our muses that have instigated concrete change. Take Heidi Qwah for example. She has been facing huge challenges trying to help people who are living in incredibly difficult situations. She is battling to show them for who they are; that other human beings can have a positive role in society; that they too have hopes and fears like anyone else but most of all, they need our benevolence. There’s Jaz Tan who mentors young adults to realise themselves in a concrete way, helping them succeed and become all they can be. With Bunga, she is staying true to her roots, yet becoming what she wants to be - the extraordinary spoken word artist that she is. And not forgetting, Juliana with her mission to clean up the planet and change people’s POV on how they can also affect change little by little. These muses really drive the message of Smiling Strong together as this world needs to see change happen.

What was the production process like? What was the biggest challenge?

The project took around a year to create and produce with COVID-19 happening right in the middle of everything. Frankly, it was challenging and there were moments where our work was halted but our Ogilvy team pulled through in a big way. Our AV producers and the production house were incredible and everyone kept the energy and enthusiasm even when the chips were down especially with the periods of lockdown and having to work from home. We are also very lucky to have great, courageous clients who really believed in the adventure and provided invaluable support. 

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What’s the main message of the campaign and why does it matter?

Smiling Strong in the face of pessimism and rising up together to meet the challenges that life brings. 

In this time of a global pandemic that is likely to have consequences for years to come, it is important to stay positive. The world, now more than ever, needs concrete change; so let us celebrate the people that are the best amongst us. It’s important to understand that we are not alone and that during tough times, people coming together can move mountains. You just have to take action. 

What is one unique aspect of the campaign?

That Colgate is able to celebrate our muses and their attitude in taking actionable steps to help people that need our help the most by donating care packs. We also hope that next year we can continue activating and helping communities in Malaysia that need it the most. 

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How long did it take from inception to delivery?

It took almost a year from start to finish give or take a month. 

What do you hope it achieves for the brand?

I hope that people see Colgate as a brand that is involved. Colgate has started a process of change with Building a Future to Smile About around People, Performance and Planet, that is refreshing to see in the industry and has some very switched on people trying make it happen. It’s a steady process that takes time but they are on the path and I hope people can relate to it.

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