Saatchi Cape Town aims to turn cleft palates into Smiles

In the UK we’re all familiar with ads for children around the world with cleft palates but, while the media space is big and impressive (some of it doubtless donated) the ads, while powerful lack the attraction and cut-through of production quality.

And this still counts even with undeniably good causes (about one in 700 children worldwide are born with cleft palates).

Saatchi & Saatchi Cape Town handles Operation Smile, a charity in the sector which through its referral system provides free surgery for such children.

It’s produced an eight-minute documentary tracking the fortunes of four-year-old Brandan Aires from his home town Graaff Reinet in the Eastern Cape to his operation in Cape Town and subsequent recovery.

Sammy-Jane Thom, creative group head at Saatchi says: “The documentary filming began early December in 2009 with a trip to Brandan’s home before his surgery, we then followed his journey to Cape Town where his surgery took place, returning in March this year to visit Brandan to document the change in his life.

“When we returned to Graaff Reinet he was nearly impossible to film”, Thom adds, “His confidence levels had shot up dramatically, he talked non stop which he had refused to do before his operation. His dad now tells us that no-one whispers hushed words behind his back and he plays all over the place, he is full of life.”

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