Stereo Creative | Smiley — Future Positive
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Future Positive

Facing up to the problems of the future


As the climate emergency becomes more pressing, and people — rightfully — demand more from corporations, Smiley pledged to hold partner brands to a higher standard.

Enter Future Positive: Smiley’s long-term sustainability commitment aligned to the United Nations’ Global Goals.

Smiley briefed us to reinvent the branding for the programme. Our research revealed that nearly one in two consumers do not trust businesses on climate change and sustainability (Deloitte, 2023). Without careful framing, we risked eroding belief in the programme.

We had to make Smiley’s unbridled optimism work for a more serious conversation before launching the movement and brand. We settled on the idea of “Grounded Optimism”, which recognises the challenges but remains hopeful and optimistic in its delivery.


The strategy and UN goals inspired our creative concept — ‘Less Is More’. The core message was to waste less and make more of what we already have. This thinking guided all our creative decisions.

For design, we created a reduction device made of the spare material that surrounds the Smiley logo; this device also frames areas of importance and highlights positive change. The stripped back tone of voice added to a minimalist and principled feel, with a focus on action. All of these elements come together to further build on Smiley’s ‘Grounded Optimism’ positioning.

The creative took inspiration from the world’s of high-fashion and minimalism, with a monochromatic palette that was deliberately chosen to be less costly in production.

Results and Learnings

The brand is in its early stages and will be rolled out to partners over the next year. By 2026 Smiley are aiming to have:


of their licensing partners operating with at least one sustainable initiative


of Smiley products made sustainably


of Smiley’s own product and packaging made sustainably


  • Sustainability, 
  • Brand purpose, 
  • Maximise partnerships 


  • Brand Creation 


  • Fashion & Retail