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Special Project

Special Project
From the 15th Annual Shorty Awards

Ayu and Ade's Story

Entered in Vertical Video


A 2020 US brand health survey Smile Train commissioned found that the vast majority of Americans don’t really know what clefts are, and, even among those who do, fewer than 10% know that they cause severe issues with eating, breathing, speaking, hearing, and so much else, in addition to their cosmetic impact.

With this video, we wanted to share the story of a father and daughter with a cleft to start a wider conversation about the condition and its societal consequences for children and adults. 

We chose Ayu and Ade’s story specifically because, in addition to educating about clefts, we thought it would inspire a wide audience and let people know that no matter where they live, how old they are, or what their socioeconomic status is, there is always hope.

Strategy and Execution

We know that the average social media viewer’s attention span is rapidly decreasing and that vertical videos are constantly being pushed in Instagram’s algorithm. So, we cut a long, horizontal version of this video into a short, vertical “reel-style” video optimized for that platform. 

Now, with less space and time to tell the story, we decided to quickly grab viewers’ attention by focusing on the father and daughter before their surgeries and the many issues their untreated clefts created for them over the years. Only at the end did we present Smile Train as the only solution, accompanied by stunning post-op imagery, and closed by including a URL to learn more.


The results were clear: We succeeded in increasing conversation around Smile Train and the transformative importance of timely cleft care.

This video garnered nearly 49,000 views, 2,592 likes, and more than 96 comments a 600% increase compared to our usual videos. While we have videos with more views we have never had a video with as many likes and comments. People loved the story, started a dialogue in the comments, and posed constructive questions.

Best of all, it might have saved lives, as some viewers reached out to us about cleft care for themselves or their child, and we were able to connect them with free, local, Smile Train-supported treatment they did not even know existed.


Video for Ayu and Ade's Story

Entrant Company / Organization Name

Smile Train


Entry Credits