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 who each have a cleft to start a wider conversation about the condition and its real, devastating, generational consequences for children and adults in the places we work.
We chose the story of Ayu and Ade from a remote village in Indonesia, specifically, because in addition to its educational value, we thought this heartwarming story had the potential to inspire a wide audience with its message that no matter where you live, how old you are, or what your socioeconomic status is, if you have a cleft, Smile Train will always be there to provide healing and hope.
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 longer, 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 long-awaited solution, accompanied by stunning post-op imagery, then closed with a URL for viewers 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 became our most liked and commented-on video ever, garnering 2,592 likes and more than 96 comments, a 600% increase compared to our usual videos, to go along with nearly 49,000 views. It started an important, constructive conversation online and, best of all, it might have even saved lives: Some viewers reached out to us about cleft care for themselves or their child, and we were able to connect them with the free, local cleft treatment they may never have found otherwise.