The Palmolive Company Limited, as it was then known, was established in Australia 100 years ago with business commencing on King Street, Sydney with an original investment of 129,007 pounds.
Over the course of a century, Colgate-Palmolive has introduced more than 400 new products into the lives of Australians spanning oral, personal, home and pet care.
In 1928, Colgate-Palmolive produced its first locally made toothpaste in Australia and now, in 2021, one in two Australian households use a Colgate-Palmolive product1, with a product sold every second in Australia2.
The company’s innovation has responded to the changing needs of Australians over the past ten decades. Milestone moments include:
- In the 1920s, Colgate Ribbon Dental Cream launched in Australia. It went through many versions – from jars to collapsible tubes.
- In 1924, the iconic green packaged Palmolive Soap launched in Australia.
- In 1928, the Colgate-Palmolive factory in Balmain, Sydney produced its first toothpaste in Australia.
- In 1956, the Villawood Plant began producing the Ajax Scouring Cleaner, now a power brand in household cleaning.
- Colgate toothpaste reformulated with MFP Fluoride in the 1960s and was deemed the best possible protection against tooth decay by dentists.
- Australia became home to the first update of the famous Palmolive soap in 1973, shifting from its brick shape into the luxurious pillow shape that has proved so popular it has remained unchanged for nearly 50 years.
- In February 2013, the iconic Colgate Optic White brand launched with its revolutionary 1% hydrogen peroxide formula.
- The “Do You Bamboo?” campaign in 2019 helped launch the eco-friendly bamboo toothbrush.
- In 2021, the company introduced the first-of-its-kind recyclable toothpaste tube to Australia – made from high-density polyethylene that can be placed in kerbside plastic recycling bins.
Colgate-Palmolive continues to give back through its Bright Smiles, Bright Futures program and community partnerships. For more than 20 years, the program has educated nearly nine million Australian kids on the importance of oral health. The success of this program led to the introduction of the complementary Clean Hands, Good Health program, which was established in 2010 to help teach children about good hand hygiene.
Colgate-Palmolive has also proudly contributed $6 million to the Smith Family and re-homed 11 million dogs and cats through its partnership with animal shelters.
Colgate-Palmolive South Pacific General Manager Simon Petersen believes innovation goes beyond product development and the company’s longevity can be attributed to always listening to the customer: “We are so honoured to have played a part in the lives of Australians for a century. It’s amazing to think that 50% of Australians have a Colgate-Palmolive product in their home1.
“Throughout our 100-year history, it is our customers and our people that have been at the heart of our success. The meaning of health and wellbeing may have evolved, and the use of technology has changed dramatically in that time but what hasn’t changed is our values – to keep building a healthier future for all Australians and their pets,” Mr Petersen added.
1 The household penetration of Palmolive Personal Care products in Australia is 57.9%. Source: IRI, MAT 20/06/21.
2 Based on the number of units sold of Colgate Oral Care products in Australia. Source: IRI, MAT 04/07/21.