Colgate is combating Smile Shame in The Land of Smiles where 98 percent of Thais wish they could smile freely
Colgate launches its #FreeYourSmile campaign by adapting its logo to celebrate all smiles in conjunction with World Smile Day®
Media OutReach - 18 October 2023 - Global personal and home care brand Colgate-Palmolive ("Colgate") is taking a stand against
Smile Shaming, underscoring the beauty and importance of
all smiles through its #FreeYourSmile campaign. This comes on the back of World Smile Day which took place on 6 October 2023. This is especially significant given the proven benefits smiles bring to society's health, mental wellbeing and social bonding. The region-wide campaign kickstarts Colgate's efforts to tackle this complex topic for society and drive real positive change.
Colgate first commissioned an independent study across Asia-Pacific to gain insights and inform initiatives to propel this movement to eradicate
Smile Shame for society to fully gain the benefits of smiling.
The Colgate Smile Study 2023 found that a resounding 94 per cent of people across Asia-Pacific would like the ability to smile more freely. Thailand jointly tops the list alongside Taiwan and Philippines where an overwhelming 98 per cent indicated their desire to smile without reservations.
The study also revealed that 95 per cent of Thais feel like they have the freedom to smile whenever they like – on par with the Asia-Pacific average – 62 per cent have experienced instances where they were made to feel bad about their smile.
The inaugural study, conducted by research company Pureprofile in August – September 2023, surveyed more than 4,000 individuals aged 16 to 55 years old across eight Asia-Pacific markets namely Thailand, Australia, Singapore, Malaysia, Hong Kong, Taiwan, Philippines and India. 500 individuals were surveyed in Thailand.
To commemorate World Smile Day®, Colgate is celebrating all smiles by adapting its iconic logo to represent the many different and beautiful smiles that surround us daily. Colgate is also collaborating with influencers across the region to further champion the cause. This includes Thailand's beauty blogger
Suzie Wadee, TikToker Titipan Pantu (@dreambarcodeza), and lifestyle influencer
Pupé Jiradapa, who all have experienced
Smile Shame but are now embracing the smiles that perfectly reflect each of their unique selves.
Additionally, as part of #FreeYourSmile, Colgate is introducing a Smile Generator AI tool at
colgate.com/yourcolgatesmile, encouraging everyone to create their personalised Colgate smile on TikTok and Instagram, and spread the message to celebrate all smiles.
Yves Briantais, Executive Vice President, Marketing Asia-Pacific, Colgate-Palmolive said, "Smile Shame is especially prevalent in Asia-Pacific and this must change. At Colgate, we are on a mission to free people from the constraints of
Smile Shame to truly embrace their own unique smiles. We believe brands have the power to challenge unrealistic beauty standards and promote authenticity. Colgate is leading the charge by celebrating all smiles."
A notable 86 per cent of Thais believe that brands should have a role to play in tackling the issue of
Smile Shame, according to the Colgate Smile Study 2023.
Advocating for the Benefits of Smiling
When able to smile freely, Thais report feeling more comfortable with themselves, with more males (50 per cent) than females (37 per cent) indicating this sentiment. In fact, scientific research supports the idea that smiling positively impacts mental health, acting as natural anti-depressants and pain relievers. Smiling is also good for the heart, aiding in lowering blood pressure and expediting recovery after stressful events.
A key health benefit of smiling includes strengthening the immune system by increasing white blood cell counts, providing protection against infections. Socially, smiling is a powerful tool to foster bonds and building trust by making a lasting positive impression on others.
Standing against Smile Shame
Smile Shame may not be a familiar term to many. It encapsulates the feelings of embarrassment, self-consciousness, or insecurity regarding one's smile. The Colgate Smile Study 2023 revealed that a significant 62 percent of Thais relate to the concept of
Parul Patel Desai, Vice President Marketing, Greater Indochina Hub, Colgate-Palmolive, "It comes as no surprise that as The Land Of Smiles, almost all of Thailand feels empowered to smile whenever they like. While we are heartened by this, our survey findings also clearly indicate that there are many who still feel insecure about their smile, and have been impacted by the negative effects of
Smile Shame. We hope that our initiative today will start breaking these barriers, and brightening Thailand with every individual's own unique smile."
62 per cent of Thais feel that it is safe to talk about
Smile Shame, thanks to having empathetic friends and family, and the perception of societal acceptance in openly discussing the effects of such behaviours.
Celebrating the Diversity of Smiles
Smile Shame is associated with different attributes across markets, reflecting diverse perceptions of what makes a beautiful smile. In Thailand,
Smile Shame is typically associated with the colour and structure of teeth.
The Colgate Smile Study 2023 also revealed that the key factor making Thais worry about their smile is their own feeling of self-doubt. This is followed by concerns about comments made about their smiles from others including family, friends, and even strangers. Indeed, for the aforementioned 62 per cent who have personally been made to feel bad about their smiles, top sources came from family and friends' comments, followed by social media influence making them feel like they need to have perfect teeth to smile confidently.
#FreeYourSmile is the first step in Colgate's mission to celebrate all smiles and combat
Smile Shame, with more initiatives planned. This movement represents Colgate's goal to inspire individuals to express themselves freely and proudly, regardless of perceived imperfections.
Colgate-Palmolive Company is a caring, innovative growth company reimagining a healthier future for all people, their pets and our planet. Focused on Oral Care, Personal Care, Home Care and Pet Nutrition, they sell their products in more than 200 countries and territories under brands such as Colgate, Palmolive, elmex, hello, meridol, Sorriso, Tom's of Maine, EltaMD, Filorga, Irish Spring, PCA SKIN, Protex, Sanex, Softsoap, Speed Stick, Ajax, Axion, Fabuloso, Soupline and Suavitel, as well as Hill's Science Diet and Hill's Prescription Diet. We are recognized for our leadership and innovation in promoting sustainability and community well-being, including our achievements in decreasing plastic waste and promoting recyclability, saving water, conserving natural resources and improving children's oral health through the Colgate Bright Smiles, Bright Futures program, which has reached more than 1.4 billion children since 1991. Our range of products are for everyone to find a way to get the smile they want.
For more information about Colgate's global business and how we are building a future to smile about, visit