Adrian Peter Tse
Jul 15, 2015

Bringing smiles to cleft lips: Operation Smile

THAILAND - Children born with a cleft lip think their smiles are ugly and struggle to make friends. Operation Smile, a global foundation raising money for cleft lip surgery worked with BBDO Bangkok to try and change that.

Client: Operation Smile

Agency: BBDO Bangkok

Market: Thailand

Name of campaign: 'The Painted Smile'

Campaign scope: Online, outdoor, print 


BBDO Bangkok partnered with Operation Smile, a global foundation that raises money to perform cleft surgery on children in need. 

The campaign launched in May 2015 with the world’s first painted-cleft play as professional make-up artists painted fun and playful characters around children’s lips to highlight their smiles.

The play was filmed and used as the main awareness driver to raise funds for the charity. Print and billboard featuring key images further supported the fundraising efforts around Bangkok.

The Painted Smile captured the attention of both the Thai general public and celebrities who posted photos of themselves hiding their smiles behind cute dolls on Instagram, using the hashtag #thepaintedsmile.

According to BBDO Bangkok, the campaign earned US $1.6 million in free PR and raised enough money for more than 1,000 children in Thailand to receive cleft surgery this year.

Press release quote:

Chalit Manuyakorn, ECD, BBDO Bangkok: 

We were so excited to produce this campaign and to help make a real difference. We found that using an optimistic approach and avoiding the usual tear-jerking campaigns really stood out for Operation Smile and helped raise funds for many, many surgeries.

Campaign Asia Pacific's comments: It would be easy to dismiss this as another 'cause-based' piece of work but the story, execution, emotions and message are all working together well in this campaign. All the better if it's helped raise money and awareness for children with cleft lips. 


Production: Film Factory
Director: Sorasart Wisetsin , Apisit Kumphek
Chief Creative Officer: Suthisak Sucharittanonta
Executive Creative Director: Suthisak Sucharittanonta , Chalit Manuyakorn
Creative Director: Suthisak Sucharittanonta , Chalit Manuyakorn
Art Director: Tiabtawan Limjittrakorn , Pakorn Inthachai , Suthisak Sucharittanonta
Copywriter: Thasorn Boonyanate , Kanitkorn Srimakorn , Prachya Wanthanasin , Suthisak Sucharittanonta
Client Service Director: Taksina Vasaruchapong
Agency Producer: Jaruda Mungkun
Producer: Film Factory
Sound Studio: Momentum


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