Media Outreach

Colgate is combating Smile Shame in Hong Kong to address concerns of 97 per cent who wish they could smile freely

On World Smile Day®, Colgate launches its #FreeYourSmile campaign by adapting its logo to celebrate all smiles

HONG KONG SAR – Media OutReach – 6 October 2023 – This World Smile Day®, 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 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.

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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.

While 88 per cent of Hong Kongers felt that they had the freedom to smile whenever they liked, the Colgate Smile Study 2023 also found that a significant 97 per cent of them want the ability to smile more freely – higher than the regional average of 94 per cent.

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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 Hong Kong, India, Singapore, Malaysia, Taiwan, Philippines, Australia and Thailand. More than 500 individuals were surveyed in Hong Kong.

This 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 this cause. This includes Ethan Kuan from Taiwan, and Xixi Lim from Singapore who have personally experienced Smile Shame but are now embracing their own unique smiles.

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. This World Smile Day, Colgate is leading the charge by celebrating all smiles.”

At 84 per cent, most Hong Kongers 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

More than any other feeling, 39 per cent of Hong Kongers feel that being able to smile freely allows them to be more relaxed. In fact, scientific research supports the idea that smiling positively impacts mental health, acting as natural anti-depressants and pain relievers[1]. Smiling is also good for the heart, aiding in lowering blood pressure and expediting recovery after stressful events[2].

A key health benefit of smiling includes strengthening the immune system by increasing white blood cell counts, providing protection against infections[3]. Socially, smiling is a powerful tool to foster bonds and building trust by making a lasting positive impression on others[4].

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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 63 per cent of Hong Kongers can relate to Smile Shame. 61 per cent of Hong Kongers have been made to feel bad about their smile, thanks to the influences of pop culture in television and movies making them feel the need to have perfect teeth to smile beautifully, social media giving the same impression, and getting comments from friends and family about their teeth.

Celebrating the Diversity of Smiles

Smile Shame is associated with different attributes across markets, reflecting diverse perceptions of what makes a beautiful smile. In Hong Kong, Smile Shame is typically attributed to whether their smile makes their face look good, or whether their smile looks fake.

#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.

For more information, please visit colgate.com/yourcolgatesmile


1 ‘Good reasons to Smile’ (2023) John Hopkins Medicine. John Hopkins All Children’s Hospital. Available at: https://www.hopkinsallchildrens.org/Patients-Families/Health-Library/HealthDocNew/Good-Reasons-to-Smile

2 Smile! It’s Good for Your Heart’ (Sep 2012) Greater Good Science Center at the University of California, Berkeley. Available at: https://greatergood.berkeley.edu/article/item/smile_its_good_for_your_heart

3 ’11 Benefits of Smlling’ (Oct 2021) Delaware Psychological Services. Available at: https://www.delawarepsychologicalservices.com/post/11-benefits-of-smiling ’11 Benefits of Smlling’ (Oct 2021) Delaware Psychological Services. Available at: https://www.delawarepsychologicalservices.com/post/11-benefits-of-smiling

Hashtag: #Colgate

The issuer is solely responsible for the content of this announcement.

About Colgate-Palmolive Company

About Colgate-Palmolive Company 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 .

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Eric
Eric is just a nerd who loves to write about tech

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