Short List
Product / ServiceSMILE ASIA
CategoryB03. Fundraising & Advocacy
Idea Creation McCANN HEALTH Singapore, SINGAPORE


Name Company Position
Yuan Ling Tan McCann Health Jr. Art Director
Emily Mok McCann Health Jr. Art Director
Mellisa Go McCann Health Copywriter
Rodrigo Mitma McCann Health Associate Creative Director
Alejandro Canciobello McCann Health Creative Director
Sean Riley McCann Health Executive Creative Director
Kirby Ho McCann Health Senior Production Manager
Rebecca Murphy McCann Health Director of Communications
Pei Ying Sim McCann Health Junior Account Manager
Nicole Lade McCann Health General Manager
Abhimanyu Talukdar Smile Asia Secretary General
Phoebe Low Smile Asia Programme Manager
Lorena Sancho Smile Asia Campaign Executive
Mark Fletcher The Ritz-Cartlon Director of Human Resources
Massimo Pasquarelli The Ritz-Carlton Executive Chef
Lewis Quinn The Ritz-Carlton Director of Food and Beverage
Ken Fong The Ritz-Carlton Banquet Operations Manager
Rei Tan Ground Production Props Maker
Eleen Yong Ground Production Producer
Priscilla Low Ground Production Producer
Zantz Han Ground Production Photographer/Videographer
Tan Teck Kuan The Next Chapter Film Videographer
Tania Wu Magic Format Pte Ltd Executive Producer
JY Goh Magic Format Pte Ltd Editor
Ian Dennis D’Rozario U Got Shot By Me Videographer

Why is this work relevant for Direct?

In order to maximise donations to Smile Asia, we created a unique dining experience where potential donors could live through the same sorts of difficulties and frustrations that children with cleft are faced with at every meal. The ultimate goal was to make the cause personal enough to encourage activation through donation – to get them to dig deeply into their pockets to help support the cause, right then and there.

Describe any restrictions or regulations regarding Healthcare/RX/Pharma communications in your country/region including:

There are no local or regional restrictions that impact on these events.

Describe the target audience and why your work is relevant to them.

Smile Asia needed to engage existing and new donors – high-earning individuals and corporations from all over Asia. They are familiar with the cause but not fully aware of the plight of the beneficiaries. Due to their busy lifestyles, there are few channels through which Smile Asia can engage them.


Each year, over 100,000 children in Asia are born with cleft lip and palate – birth defects that turn the simple act of eating into a daily struggle. Leaving parents constantly worried their child is not getting enough nutrition, that they will not flourish and that their life will have limited potential due to prejudice against their physical appearance. Still, many people remain unaware of the true impact of cleft lip and palate beyond the aesthetic – making donations very sporadic. Smile Asia is a global alliance of charities funding surgeries to correct cleft lip and palate. Entirely dependent on the generosity of its donors, Smile Asia needed them to feel the problem at a much deeper level – to get as close as possible to experiencing cleft for themselves. In essence, to get the donations to pay for the surgeries, we had to make it personal.

Describe the creative idea (30% of vote)

In order to capture new donors and inspire the existing to dig deeper into their pockets, we needed a charity event that was unlike any other they had previously attended. One that would drive home to the participants the real-life effects this facial deformity has on these children – beyond the obvious aesthetics – and spur them to make a donation immediately after. Our solution: The Cleft Collection – a unique set of cutlery specially designed with a cleft of its own. Each utensil has its own cleft-shaped missing piece, so that not only does it visually mimic the condition, it also replicates how frustratingly difficult eating is to children with cleft.

Describe the strategy (20% of vote)

Smile Asia has the most contact and impact with donors at their fund-raising events. It’s only at these events that Smile Asia has their time and attention long enough to tell a story, build an experience and get them invested enough into the cause, that it becomes personal. Smile Asia knew that donors who volunteered for surgical missions and were exposed to the plight of the beneficiaries were more likely to become advocates. While it’s not feasible to take everyone on a mission, if we could bring the experience of cleft to a wider pool of donors, we were confident we could achieve the same effect. We needed an idea that not only let donors experience the difficulties of cleft, but was unavoidable, fit right in at a fund-raising dinner, and allowed them to make an immediate donation.

Describe the execution (20% of vote)

We unveiled the Cleft Collection at an exclusive dinner fund-raiser at the Ritz-Carlton designed to showcase the features of the cutlery. During the luxury dinner, attendees found that their soup poured out of their spoons before it got to their mouths, they couldn’t pick up anything with their forks, and their knives were too dull and lacked a long enough straight edge to cut their food. Then we set our sights on the Smile Asia Annual Gala Dinner Fund-Raiser. 280 attendees including celebrities and public figures were given the same extraordinary dining experience – confronting them with the difficulties of eating with cleft. Throughout the meals, guests went from nonplussed, to frustrated, to a growing realisation and ultimately, enlightenment – making it personal and driving them to donate through a QR-enabled card which came with the final course of the meal.

List the results (30% of vote)

The response of the diners to the Cleft Collection and to the plight of the children in general was overwhelmingly positive and for many, deeply moving. We had connected the reality of cleft – beyond any superficial aesthetics – to their own lives in a way they could not prepare for, deny or forget. Across the 2 dinner fund-raisers, the Cleft Collection raised enough to help fund 796 surgeries. Literally creating 796 new smiles. Based on the impact and success of the 2 Singapore events, more Cleft Collection dinners are being planned for Hong Kong, Japan, India and the US.