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Colgate-Palmolive Company
Courtesy of Colgate-Palmolive Company

Colgate is a cool mom with iridescent new toothpaste line for Gen Z


TextAlex Peters

The brand wants brushing your teeth to be a #self-care ritual

Gen Z approval is the gold dust that all brands are chasing at the moment. It’s had them investing in TikTok marketing, putting out inclusive, gender-fluid campaigns, branching out into sheer, multi-purpose products, and, it seems, experimenting with holographic packaging. Kids like shiny things right?

Classic toothpaste brand Colgate is one of these companies. This week, the brand launched CO. by Colgate, a new oral care collection aimed at Gen Z. Using the empowering, self-care language that has come to dominate beauty marketing, the new collection is described as one that “transforms the simple act of brushing your teeth into a ritual for feeling good”.

“The collection was born from the powerful belief that a smile is at the heart of feeling beautiful and confident,” the inspirational message continues. “CO. by Colgate encourages all people to share their authentic selves with the world, smile brighter, express themselves freely, and live their truth boldly.”

CO. by Colgate, which will debut exclusively at Gen Z-favoured beauty retailer Ulta Beauty, is a collection of “efficacious and beauty-inspired products” including toothpaste, toothbrushes, mouth rinse, teeth whitener, and toothpaste tabs all designed to deliver a bright smile and all packaged in an iridescent purpley-blue. It also has its very own Instagram account featuring young people in very Euphoria-esque make-up. It’s aim, the brand says, is to speak “to the next generation of beauty enthusiasts in search of brands that represent their values, complement their lifestyles, and inspire self-expression”.

How does a toothpaste brand inspire self-expression? Well, I’m glad you asked. According to a study cited by Colgate, 39 per cent of Americans report not feeling accepted as their true selves. In an effort to change this, CO. will be supporting, spotlighting, and celebrating organisations and individuals who “advocate for a future where everyone feels confident to express themselves freely”. The brand will also be building a donation model to give back with every purchase, focusing on non-profit organisations, the details of which will be shared in the coming months. 

“CO. by Colgate is more than a line of transformative oral beauty products that help create brighter smiles,” says Dana Medema, vice president and general manager, Oral Care, Colgate North America. “It aspires to celebrate and support those working every day to build a brighter, more inclusive future. We hope to help shape a world where everyone feels safe and encouraged to be who they truly are.”

Oral care hasn’t traditionally been thought of as a particularly chic or trendy category, although a new batch of brands have popped up in the last few years in an effort to shift this image. The Kendall Jenner-backed brand Moon, for example, launched in 2019 as an “elevated take” on oral care that provides products that look just as good on your counter as your other beauty bits. 

It’s unsurprising that companies are increasingly turning their sights to Gen Z, a demographic which makes up 40 per cent of global consumers and accounts for $150 billion in spending power in the US alone, according to McKinsey & Company. Colgate will hope to do better than other beauty brands who have recently tried and failed to successfully capture the youth audience. In 2017, Estée Edit, Estée Lauder’s Kendall Jenner-fronted attempt to speak to a younger audience, closed after just 16 months. Glossier Play, branded as the playful younger sister to Glossier, was put on pause after less than a year, while Shiseido’s Wasso, which was positioned as an entry-level skincare brand for young people, announced its closure in the Japanese market today.  

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