Shreyas Kulkarni

Colgate's new ad is from a mask-free future

The ad shows people meeting at restaurants without any social distancing. There’s also a warm sweet touch at the end.

When it comes to talking about the future, ads these days are dystopic. Of course, it's just a reflection of the times we live in. The COVID pandemic isn't going away anytime soon and the anxiety emanating from it has spread everywhere, including the ads we see.

But, Colgate's new ad called 'Begin again with a smile' defies the aforementioned trends. It, instead, shows us a mask-free future; one where people visit restaurants and mingle without the need for social distancing. It's 35 seconds long, and if you blink, you may feel it is a pre-pandemic ad.

What caught our eye, apart from the lack of masks and social distancing, were the analogies the ad made. The lockdown included loneliness was compared to the old lady's loneliness, so was the post-pandemic freedom to the freedom from societal judgement. And let's not forget, without the masks, we can finally see the smiles on people's faces.

Red Fuse Communications, a dedicated WPP unit to service packaged-goods giant, Colgate-Palmolive is behind this ad.

We asked a few industry experts on what they thought of the ad.

Chraneeta Mann, co-founder, The Mob

Chraneeta Mann
Chraneeta Mann

It's a fresh take on the post-COVID world, and helps you get past the sombreness and heaviness of these times... While an older woman opting for a remarriage, or at least planning it, might not be new as an insight, its link to the lockdown and how one needs to break out of traditional thinking, is well connected. Well casted, and simply done, this ad is a break from the desat tones of these times.

Sambit Mohanty, creative head (South), McCann

Sambit Mohanty
Sambit Mohanty

While it’s nicely shot with a heartwarming storyline, the product connect is extremely weak. I fail to understand this dire need for brands to jump on to a cause bandwagon.

The downside here is you’ll recall the story, but possibly not the brand - which is why a Colgate sticker is placed prominently throughout the duration of the ad.

Heeru Dingra, CEO, WATConsult

Heeru Dingra
Heeru Dingra

‘Smile’ has the distinction of being one of the most recognised human expressions and it has been a constant fixture in the ad imagery for decades. Here, it takes on the values of acceptance and progress.

Two elderly people getting remarried is a rather sensitive subject, so an ad showcasing it is progressive in its own right. But, coupled with the attributes of an accepting smiling family, it elevates the conversation to an even more progressive level.

The video portrays how with just a smile, one could extend their support and share their parents’ happiness. And when expertly handled, even age-old mnemonics can be very effective and evolve to be relevant to the modern times.

Naresh Gupta, co-founder and chief strategy officer, Bang In The Middle.

Naresh Gupta
Naresh Gupta

It’s very interesting, and I loved it. Almost from frame one, you know where the story may go and yet it keeps you engrossed. It has a very modern take on the 'smile', something that’s devoid of drama and preachiness. The issue with any such commercial is its tendency to fall into preachiness. The almost normal storytelling is a winner.

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