Smile Train Breaks Away From Formulaic Charity Advertising In New Campaign

Apr 3 2014, 3:22pm CDT | by

Smile Train, the world’s largest cleft charity, today unveils a new logo and marketing campaign in conjunction with its 1 millionth cleft-repair surgery.

The campaign, focused on the U.S. and the U.K. and created by agency SS+K, departs from traditional direct-response charity advertising that features third-world plights viewed through the donor’s eyes. Instead, Smile Train sent “City of God” director Kátia Lund and award-winning photojournalist Alex Webb deep into developing countries to capture photographs of real-life Smile Train patients who have been transformed by cleft surgery.

The campaign tactics used to tell the patients’ stories include videos, sharable infographics called “SmileyGraphs,” and a redesigned brand identity. Smile Train today also launches a Smile-Powered Deeds campaign, which identifies creative ways to raise money for Smile Train.

I caught up with Smile Train CEO Susannah Schaefer via email to learn more about the campaign and the rationale behind its break from the strategies charities typically employ.

Why was a new logo and campaign necessary, and why now?

Smile Train is always dedicated to finding new, creative ways to convey the importance of our cause. Our 1 millionth-smile milestone and 15-year anniversary was the ideal time to give our brand a refresh. We need to make sure we’re communicating the power of our sustainable model in the most effective, up-to-date way possible, which we believe is through a fully-integrated campaign that tells patients’ stories in new ways. This campaign impacts every touchpoint of our communications, from the look and feel of our brand, to the creative message, to the media channels we use to distribute content. Our new logo and creative campaign, by SS+K, are designed to increase awareness and reach as many prospective donors as possible. Donations allow us to continue transforming the lives of countless children worldwide who could not have otherwise afforded surgery on their own.

Why was the radically different perspective of this campaign necessary?

There are so many charities from all categories competing for donors by pulling at our heartstrings. Most traditional charity advertising shows the plight of third-world countries through the lens of the donor. While traditional charity methods have been effective, we wanted to find a unique way to reach donors that differentiates us from other organizations and conveys our story through the patient’s eyes. Our campaign, “The Power of a Smile,” brings audiences far and wide into developing countries and tells the stories of real people from their point-of-view and how their lives have been transformed by cleft surgery. This shift in our creative powerfully conveys both the severity of cleft and the life-changing impact of our work – also showing just how far a $250 donation can go.

Why were the SmileyGraphs and Smile-Powered Deeds chosen as tactics—what will they accomplish?

The SmileyGraphs and Smile-Powered Deeds were developed to engage audiences, both online and off. The SmileyGraphs are designed to raise awareness around the severity of cleft and visually represent Smile Train’s impactful solutions in a shareable, social graphic.

Smile-Powered Deeds are a way for donors to exchange work for donations. They’re our out-of-the-box way of getting people involved in the cause. Smile-Powered Deeds raise money for Smile Train by letting people donate their time and energy in everyday ways – whether that’s tutoring, design work or babysitting. We believe these tactics are a powerful, unique way to allow the widest range of donors to contribute to our cause of providing 100%-free cleft surgery and spreading smiles across the world.

In general, where does charity advertising fall down?

In any category, success breeds a formula, and with that formula there is a risk of becoming too familiar. There are opportunities in charity and nonprofit advertising to break the mold and try new things, which can be hard to do. This campaign not only focuses on cleft as a severe issue, but powerfully shows its impact on the entire life of a child, their family and their community. Cleft isn’t just a cosmetic issue – it affects eating, breathing, speaking and the ability to lead a productive life.

How will you measure the ROI of this campaign?

Ultimately, the campaign’s success will be measured by an increase in donations, from both new and past donors. We’ll also be looking to increase awareness and engagement among existing and prospective donors. Increased donations result in our increased support for children suffering from cleft worldwide, allowing us to touch even more lives through surgery each day.

 
 

Don't miss ...

 

<a href="/latest_stories/all/all/30" rel="author">Forbes</a>
Forbes is among the most trusted resources for the world's business and investment leaders, providing them the uncompromising commentary, concise analysis, relevant tools and real-time reporting they need to succeed at work, profit from investing and have fun with the rewards of winning.

 

blog comments powered by Disqus

Latest stories

New crew aboard Russian spaceship reach ISS
Washington, Nov 24 (IANS) Three new crew members from the US, Russia and Italy arrived Monday at the International Space Station (ISS) on board a Russian spaceship.
 
 
First Italian female astronaut ready for spaceflight
Rome, Nov 24 (IANS) History will be made Monday with the first ever Italian female astronaut set to go into space for a mission on board the International Space Station (ISS).
 
 
Mummy wearing jewellery unearthed in Egypt
London, Nov 23 (IANS) Spanish archaeologists have discovered about 4,000 years old female mummy wearing rare jewellery in Egypt.
 
 
Exercise and fasting could boost brain's functions
Washington, Nov 23 (IANS) Exercise along with occasional fasting is good for boosting the brain's neurons, shows a new research.
 
 
 

Latest from the Network

270 Syrian refugees saved off coast of Cyprus
Nicosia, Nov 24 (IANS) A boat carrying 270 Syrian refugees trying to reach Europe was towed to the Turkish controlled northern coast of Cyprus after drifting for several hours. The rescue operation took place...
Read more on Politics Balla
 
It?s direction over acting for Jolie
Los Angeles, Nov 24 (IANS) Actress Angelina Jolie says she is now looking to focus on her directing career. "I've never been comfortable as an actor -- I've never loved being in front of the camera. I didn't ever...
Read more on Celebrity Balla
 
Al Qaeda-linked fighters target two Shia towns in Syria
Damascus, Nov 24 (IANS) The Al Qaeda-linked Nusra Front and like-minded groups attacked two pro-government and predominantly Shia towns, in Syria's Aleppo province. The attack on the towns of Nubul and Zahra Sunday...
Read more on Politics Balla
 
Pattinson gets naughty with FKA Twigs in public
Los Angeles, Nov 24 (IANS) Actor Robert Pattinson seemed to be in a playful mood when he grabbed his girlfriend FKA Twigs's derriere while strolling here recently. The duo had stepped out together Friday afternoon for...
Read more on Celebrity Balla
 
Focus shifts to 'political agreement' over Iranian nuclear issue
Tehran, Nov 24 (IANS) Iran and six world powers would now look to negotiate a "political agreement" as a comprehensive deal by the Nov 24 deadline would be "impossible", Iranian officials said. "We haven't been...
Read more on Politics Balla
 
Political leader shot dead in Pakistan
Karachi, Nov 24 (IANS) A leader of the Awami National Party (ANP), Ziauddin was gunned down Sunday by unknown assailants in Orangi Town in the Pakistani city of Karachi, media reported. According to police, the leader...
Read more on Politics Balla
 
Israeli cabinet pushes to make country 'Jewish state' by law
Jerusalem, Nov 24 (IANS) The Israeli cabinet approved a bill Sunday, which enshrines in law that Israel is the national homeland of the Jewish people and that this right is unique to them. Fifteen ministers voted in...
Read more on Politics Balla
 
When Lily Allen's sex life 'lacked magic'
Los Angeles, Nov 24 (IANS) Singer Lily Allen, who says she didn't enjoy a great sex life until she was in her mid-20s, believes sex needs to be reprented as an "emotive experience" in popular media. She says the media...
Read more on Celebrity Balla
 
Bangladesh beats Zimbabwe in second ODI
Dhaka, Nov 24 (IANS) Bangladesh beat Zimbabwe by 68 runs in the second one day international (ODI) at the Zahur Ahmed Chowdhury stadium in Chittagong Sunday, to go 2-0 up in the five-match cricket series. Batting...
Read more on Sport Balla
 
Stand up for your rights, Imran Khan tells Pakistanis
Islamabad, Nov 24 (IANS) Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) chief Imran Khan said Sunday that the people of Pakistan must stand up for their rights, when the party holds a rally Nov 30 in Islamabad. Addressing a public...
Read more on Politics Balla