Colgate spotlights MY hip-hop star Airliftz to show strength in adversity

Colgate-Palmolive’s latest film for its Smile Strong campaign in Malaysia highlights the power of a smile in the face of adversity. Made in collaboration with Red Fuse, the film tells the story of Malaysian hip-hop star Airliftz, who despite relentless lifelong struggles due to facial deformities since birth, continues to smile big.

The film’s cinematic direction takes the viewer on a journey through Airliftz’s life from childhood, giving a very real insight into what he faced throughout his life. The majority of the film is shot from behind, retracing important and often heartbreaking moments in his life, until he walks from the dressing room to the stage where he is greeted by thousands of cheering fans.

The contrasting stories show how his will and determination broke down the prejudices of society, which ultimately led him to share his passion with the world. The film runs in theaters and on digital from November to December.

Colgate said the poignant story of Airliftz was chosen to inspire and remind Malaysians that with perseverance and a positive attitude, we can all achieve great things that can change our lives forever.

Adrian Miller, Creative Director at Ogilvy Malaysia, explained that in keeping the protagonist’s face hidden throughout the commercial and juxtaposing the harsh realities of his past life with the adulation he receives in the present, the team has created a film that will intrigue the viewer.

“In a world of disposable content, the best we can hope for is people watching until the end and the least we can do is reward them for doing so,” he said. He added that the toothpaste category doesn’t tend to see much deviation from the norm in brand storytelling. From then on, the team always wonders how to bring a fresh look to a well-trodden territory?

See Mei Sin, Associate Marketing Director of Oral Care (Oral Care) said: “We hope the story of Airliftz inspires an optimistic spirit among Malaysians – that there is real power in our smile, no matter be our situation. She added that Colgate believes everyone deserves a future they can smile about – regardless of age, race, gender or just looks.

Last month, Colgate-Palmolive unveiled a regional campaign called “Share the Answers” introducing the use of HPDE recyclable toothpaste tubes. The digital campaign includes an animated recyclable toothpaste tube called “Colley”, which has been deployed on Meta, YouTube and TikTok and will feature a selection of in-store promotional materials.

As plastic waste is an increasingly pressing environmental issue, Colgate is committed to designing and providing circular and alternative solutions for all Colgate products, as part of its 2025 sustainability and social impact strategy.

Meet the top PR and communications leaders in Asia in person. PR Asia is setting the stage for the future of contemporary goal-oriented public relations. Join us on November 9 as we bring together Asia’s top public relations and communications practitioners in person in Malaysia. Dive into the next steps needed for PR as we head into 2023. Only on #PRAsia.

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Robert M. Larson