Tonic Design commits to identifying and investing in emerging technology platforms for our clients’ success. When our long-term client Johnson & Johnson (J&J) came to us with a unique request, we recognized an opportunity to meet their needs by creating a VR experience.

Operation Smile

VR Experience


Emerging Technology


Video Production
Video Editing
360° Video


J&J and its employees support Operation Smile, an international medical charity that provides free surgeries for children and young adults in developing countries who are born with cleft lip, cleft palate, or other facial deformities.

J&J wanted a way to allow their employees to understand and experience the volunteer mission in a meaningful way. That’s when we made the decision to use VR. We wanted to create something that would transform people from passive to engaged viewers on an Operation Smile mission.

Along with volunteers from J&J and the Operation Smile team, our Managing Director, Digital Imaging Technician, and Director of Photography traveled to Morocco to spend a week documenting an Operation Smile mission from the perspective of a surgery recipient. One thousand hours of work went into developing our resulting 8-minute VR video.

When our work debuted at Operation Smile’s 2016 New York Smile Event, donors felt captivated by what they saw. We thought gala attendees would put on the VR headsets for a minute or so, but people enthusiastically watched the entire film. The Operation Smile experience resonated with and truly impacted the attendees. We managed not just to work with an emerging technology in creating a powerful VR experience, we also helped a worthy cause connect with their donors and volunteers.