Crest wants the next generation of allies to smile with pride

The P&G brand is focusing on the "powerful" moments that come from 2SLGBTQ+ allyship and support.

Something as simple as a smile can be one of the most powerful ways to show support for someone.

That basic insight lies at the heart of oral care brand Crest’s Pride campaign. Called “Smile With Pride,” the effort has enlisted queer and disability advocate Spencer West to help share his story of allyship: West is helping his best friend, Alex Meers, to raise the latter’s 4-year-old son, Quincy, to be an ally. That story sits at the heart of the campaign and is the focus of a 40-second spot from Crest.

The brand taps into stories like West’s because they are a powerful way to communicate important messages, according to Neil Mistry, VP of health care for Crest parent company P&G Canada. “When we met Spencer and his friend, we were inspired not only by their mission, but also by their friendship,” he adds.

The campaign deliberately focuses on the theme of allyship because, when it talked to members of the LGBTQ+ community – including the company’s own employees – Crest found “the moments of truth that were most powerful to them were when there was an ally there to support them,” he says. “By talking to people in the community, that really came to life.”

It aims to encourage others to follow West’s example and help raise the next generation of LGBTQ+ allies and advocates.

“Smile With Pride” launched June 1 and will run through the end of the month. It incorporates billboards in Toronto, Vancouver and Montreal, OLV and social ads, and influencer support from West and others who are sharing the campaign across their own channels. Crest is backing those efforts with its continued sponsorship of Pride Toronto, and it will have a team of 200 walking in the parade on June 26, comprised of P&G employees and influencer partners. It also donated $25,000 to LGBTQ+ advocacy organization The 519, which it has supported over the past six years.

The effort, which was developed with Zeno Group, falls under P&G’s overall commitment to be a “force for growth and good” and will continue through June 30. Crest has been activating for Pride over the past six years and “we don’t see the end of the runway,” says Mistry. “We want to keep going with this campaign because it touches so many people, including some of our own employees.”