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Colgate is combating Smile Shame to address concerns of 97 percent of Taiwanese who wish they could smile freely

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

TAIPEI, TAIWAN – 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.


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 respondents across Asia Pacific would like the ability to smile more freely. Taiwan tops the list alongside Philippines and Thailand where an overwhelming 98 per cent indicated their desire to smile without reservations.

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The study also revealed that 93 per cent of Taiwanese feel like they have the freedom to smile whenever they like – just under the Asian Pacific average of 95 per cent – with nearly one in two (47 per cent) having 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 Taiwan, Australia, Singapore, Malaysia, Hong Kong, Philippines, Thailand and India. More than 500 individuals were surveyed in Taiwan.

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 including Taiwan’s content creator Ethan Kuan (關韶文) and weightlifting athlete Hsing-Chun Kuo (郭婞淳), both of whom 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. This World Smile Day®, Colgate is leading the charge by celebrating all smiles.”

80 per cent of Taiwanese 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, Taiwanese report chiefly feeling more relaxed with themselves, with others saying that they feel more confident. In fact, scientific research supports the idea that smiling positively impacts mental health. Socially, smiling is a powerful tool to foster bonds and building trust by making a lasting positive impression on others[1].

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 Taiwanese relate to the concept of Smile Shame

Four in five Taiwanese feel that it is safe to talk about Smile Shame, with the understanding that society is becoming more accepting of open and honest conversations around such topics, and how it can negatively affect a person.

Shauna Lee, Senior Brand Manager, Taiwan, Colgate-Palmolive, “It is wonderful for us to note that whether they have personally experienced Smile Shame or not, Taiwan’s citizens are mostly able to relate to the concept. As social media continues to play an undeniable role in how we judge beauty, we hope that today’s initiative will ignite greater conversation to combat Smile Shame, and help all of Taiwan free their individually beautiful smiles.”

Celebrating the Diversity of Smiles

Smile Shame is associated with different attributes across markets, reflecting diverse perceptions of what makes a beautiful smile. In Taiwan, the main factor that Smile Shame is typically associated with is colour of one’s teeth.

The Colgate Smile Study 2023 also revealed that in Taiwan, social norms hold the biggest sway over those who worry about their smile. Aside from being concerned about comments from others about one’s smile, 37 per cent point to social media influences pressuring them with the idea that one needs 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.

For more information, please visit colgate.com/yourcolgatesmile

Hashtag: #Colgate

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

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, 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.

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