Cannes Lions

Line for change

VMLY&R, Paris / COLGATE / 2023






271.000 people were recorded as being homeless in England in 2022. 60% of those people experiencing homelessness suffer from toothache. A further 15% revealed they had pulled their own teeth out. Because of the high cost of healthcare, lack of information or social stigma, people who experience homelessness have troubles accessing oral care. So, Colgate, the leading oral care company in the UK had to act to provide help.


If people experiencing homelessness can’t access dentists, we decided to bring the dentists to them. Presenting, the “LINE FOR CHANGE”, a bus line with iconic London’s double decker buses onboarding a full dental care equipment and volunteer dentists, to help people experiencing homelessness one stop at a time. Line for change is showing the way forward for our industry: moving from declarations to actions, from superficial to meaningful and from selfish to selfless.


By utilizing the iconic London double decker busses, involving the mayor of London to inaugurate the line, partnering with the highly charismatic CEO of Change Please, Cemal Ezel, and Channel 4 presenter Karim Zeroual to promote the operation was all part of a bold PR strategy to emphasize the vital importance of oral health and Colgate’s fight to help people who experience homelessness.


The Line for Change has been created using iconic and very familiar London double decker busses, driving to key locations to make the access to the vital oral care services easy and seamless. Colgate equipped the busses with state of the art dental equipment and launched a volunteer dentist recruitment campaign, encouraging them to ride on the bus and help those who need it most. The line was inaugurated by the Mayor of London during a big scale city-wide event covered by all the main UK media. A documentary in partnership with Channel 4 has been created to promote the Line for Change.


The Line for Change was covered by all the major media across the UK, helping thousands of homeless people get the oral help they needed. At the same time as eliminating of crippling oral health issues, people who benefitted from the action on the bus benefitted from psychological help and job orientation with the help of Change Please. On a nation-wide scale, the incredible paid and earned media coverage of the operation has created awareness about the importance of oral health as well as pushed the authorities to act on the growing problem of homelessness in London. This action helped bring help to those who need it the most and at the same time consolidated Colgate’s position of leader in oral health, with a positive business impact throughout all the product portfolio.

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