Saatchi & Saatchi Uses ‘Art of Distraction’ for Operation Smile

Cape Town - Saatchi & Saatchi Cape Town uses ‘The Art of Distraction' with illustrations and rhyme from three cleft-lipped children in a new radio and print campaign for Operation Smile South Africa, a non-profit organisation that provides free reconstructive surgery for those with cleft lips and palates.

Aimed at garnering public support for this worthwhile cause, the radio and print campaigns focus on three cleft-lipped children, Sally, Elvis and Charlie who tackle the problem of their clefts using various distractions in three ingenious ways.

"The objective of the campaign was to bring the reality of cleft lips and palates to our audience's attention but without the shock value so often attached to such causes," says Sammy-Jane Thom, Creative Director at Saatchi & Saatchi Cape Town.

"We found the most interesting way for us to do this was to use illustrations combining a sense of fantasy with reality based on the universal insight that people will do funny or strange things to divert attention away from the things that they are self-conscious about. Distracting people from things we don't want them to see is universal, but it becomes all the more endearing and heart-breaking when we see the way children do this."

She says that the campaign execution involved inviting images and rhyming narrative reminiscent of those found in children's storybooks. "In order to distract you from their deformities, Sally has a monkey that lives in her hair, Charlie has a purple dot on his forehead and Elvis owns a very clever sock puppet," she adds.

Thom says that translating ‘The Art of Distraction' into radio presented an interesting challenge and the medium needed to be used as best as possible, which meant using storytelling to ignite the imagination.

"The idea was to tell listeners that the character had a cleft lip and then to distract them from this fact by taking them on a journey of the various distractions," she adds. "The end of the advert reminds listeners that the cleft lip was mentioned in the beginning and asks them to get everyone to forget cleft lips permanently by donating towards the operation costs."

"Overall, the campaign is based on a strong insight and executed in a warm and charming way that we hope finds a place in the public's heart," concludes Thom. To listen to the radio advert:

Creative Director: Sammy-Jane Thom
Art Director: Larissa Elliott
Copywriter: Marcelle du Plessis
Client Service: Sheherazaad Allie
Illustrator: Johan Strauss
Sound Studio: We Love Jam

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