September 30, 2014

A Smiling Elephant to CleftToSmile

CleftToSmile won the Black Elephant in Kyoorius Design Awards 2014, on the 13th of September, concluding Designyatra 2014. The Blue Elephant nominees and In-book winners can be seen here

OperationSmile is one of the largest NGO’s in the world that provides free treatment to children born with clefts. Cleft is a facial deformity that is correctable and although it affects a lot of children in India, it still remains unknown to the majority of society. When Ogilvy & Mather (O&M) was approached by OperationSmile India to develop a logo that raised awareness about cleft and brought it in to the public eye, they came up with a minimal, typable logo,  :{to:)

CleftToSmile - Logo

The logo is a simple combination of characters which spread like wildfire on twitter, raising awareness and funds around World Health Day 2013 – 30th April, getting a million tweets as it aimed for [ :{to:) #CleftToSmile ]. But along the way, there were some challenges faced too, as O&M told us. The first was that no one really knew what cleft was. “When you approach corporates to ask for support – they are prone to giving for Cancer or AIDS, for which they wouldn’t turn down a request. But when asked to donate for cleft, “What is that”, is what many of them said. There obviously was a need for popularising this condition.” The second challenge was there was hardly any money to spend – the campaign had to be done within a restricted budget.

In its simplicity, the identity beautifully illustrates OperationSmile’s medical procedure of turning clefts :{ into smiles :). The campaign relies on typing out the logo which is compact, and easy to replicate. It capitalised on an existing behaviour among social media and internet-savvy people, who use emoticons as a matter of fact. It takes only a few seconds to type the logo and spread the word about the cause behind it. Being on twitter was a successful strategy adopted by O&M for OperationSmile because it was one platform which was actively used by celebrities, creatives and majority of the youth. From Amitabh Bachhan to a college student, everyone used twitter – which worked for OperationSmile. “The campaign was conceived with the hope to become the most tweeted logo ever.” And it did.

When asked how it felt to receive the Black Elephant at Kyoorius Design Awards 2014, Mayur Varma (Senior Creative Director of Ogilvy & Mather, Mumbai) said, “The :{to:) CleftToSmile [logo] has been made with a lot of love. To get love in return, with the most prestigious design award in the country, is special.” Cleft ToSmile also won a Black Elephant for Kyoorius Advertising Awards earlier and the Elephants now sit as a family on the shelves of Ogilvy.

Doing good design is important but most of all it should be usable and purposeful, :{to:) is a fine example of that. Now that the campaign has been successful, it brings a smile to many more faces.

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