A Whiter Smile – The New Little Black Dress

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To Australian consumers, teeth whitening is just a Hollywood fascination, not something for people in the real world to worry about. As a result, the teeth-whitening category was stagnant. 

Regardless, Colgate entered the category with the launch of Optic White teeth-whitening paste in Australia, setting an audacious goal. Take 3.9% of the total toothpaste category – to be the #3 brand in Colgate portfolio. 

Colgate was already the dominant player in the oral care category, but was entering the category with what would be the highest priced product.


Move from an oral hygiene product to a “must have” beauty accessory for women. But MEC couldn’t just say it’s a beauty product and hope that consumers believed it. The agency needed to move Optic White out of the toothpaste aisle and place it slap bang in the middle of popular culture. 

Insight: Everyone talks about the "must have" accessory, forgetting about what they already have…their smile. Idea: A Whiter Smile – the new little black dress. 

To get a tube of toothpaste into popular culture MEC would give Colgate Optic White to the people who set the agenda for what’s new and exciting in beauty - the creators, influencers and experts.


Creators: To start this conversation MEC needed real content to give it credibility. They put Optic White into the hands [and mouths] of Australia’s highest profile beauty video bloggers. 

The reviews were overwhelmingly positive and gained massive traction with their respective communities. This activity alone moved Optic White’s organic search to number one within weeks of launching into the market. 

Influencers: Off this solid foundation, MEC added scale with a campaign reaching over half of Australian women across TV, magazines and digital. But it wasn’t simple ad placement. 

MEC tapped into existing popular culture by partnering with the TV show Australia’s Next Top Model, featuring Australia’s most beautiful young women. They used the influential Australian contestants in Optic White creative, including TV and shopper marketing. 

This also provided a source of content for Colgate’s owned media – including an entire episode dedicated to finding the Australian face of Optic White. Within weeks of this episode airing, the winning model also appeared in Colgate's magazine and outdoor campaign. 

Experts: To add some credibility to the tooth-whitening-as-a-beauty-product claim, MEC commissioned a world first neuroscience study to reveal “The Science Behind A Smile”. 

MEC was able to discover people’s subconscious reactions to a whiter smile. The dramatic results were brought to life in a series of online video clips tailored for dating, job-hunting and social verticals, hosted by respected Australian commentators. The research in dating showed that people were 40% more attracted to a whiter smile. Not even an eHarmony algorithm can beat that! 


MEC proved to Australians that your smile really is your best accessory. 

In its first four weeks of launch, Optic White smashed the ambitious 3.9 growth objective , instead reaching 8.6% - 220% over. It is now the number one brand in Colgate’s portfolio & #1 in the whitening category. Not bad for one-year-old brand. 

MEC'S owned and earned video content delivered a massive 683,975 views, testament to its popular culture appeal. To put it in context this is three times the size of the top-rating TV programme for women 18-39. The video blogger programme (the biggest to date for Colgate) drove Optic White product reviews to #1 position in organic search listings. 

“This campaign truly localised Optic White and has become the single, most successful launch of any Colgate brand in Australia” - Rob Wilson Marketing Manager Oral Care Colgate.

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Optic White
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January - August 2013
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