A UK campaign activated to break down stigma associated with facial differences, whilst championing confidence and positivity in the diversity of smiles


With 1 in every 700 babies globally born with a cleft, our mission was clear: to launch a creative campaign on World Smile Day, spotlighting the transformative power of smiles while raising awareness about the challenges faced by individuals born with cleft.

Our objective extended to generating compelling media coverage and enhancing brand recognition for Smile Train UK within UK audiences, including both the cleft community and those unfamiliar with the charity’s mission.


To better understand societal attitudes towards smiling and facial differences, Smile Train, PHA, and the UK’s Cleft Community Advisory Council conducted a comprehensive survey.

The study revealed alarming statistics: 34% of individuals with facial differences, including cleft, experienced discrimination or negative comments, with 30% reporting instances of bullying. These experiences led to feelings of self-consciousness (29%), unhappiness (28%), embarrassment (28%), and depression (27%) among affected individuals. The research also indicated that 53% of the wider public lacked self-love for their smiles.

Armed with these insights, our creative approach centred on empowering the cleft community by spotlighting their unfiltered smiles and untold stories, promoting the appreciation for all smiles.


Employing a multifaceted creative approach, which included portraiture, a compelling hero video, and engaging social media content, alongside an exhibition on London’s South Bank, the project aimed to empower and involve the cleft community while advocating for smile diversity and inclusivity.

We prominently featured unfiltered smiles (portraits) and untold stories from 12 individuals within the cleft community, offering insights into their experiences, supported by research exploring societal attitudes toward smiling and the stigma surrounding facial differences.

Each element was crafted with sensitivity, reflecting the needs and perspectives of all involved, thereby enhancing its impact and resonance.

The success of the outputs relied on their ability to stir public reaction and awareness while fostering inclusivity within the cleft community.

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