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Children's Campaign Makes Each Child a Hero

Marianne Aiello, for HealthLeaders Media, April 13, 2010

Shortly after launching Children's Hospital and Medical Center's "Our Stories" campaign, marketers received a call from a local dance studio. The dancers were inspired by an ad that featured a young ballerina with severe brittle bone disease and wanted to hang it in the studio because it inspired them to dance their hearts out. The ad was one of many patient testimonials in Children's "Our Stories" campaign, which won a 2009 HealthLeaders Media Marketing Award.

The campaign targeted young women and mothers via print, radio, outdoor spots. It also used several online elements, such as banner ads, YouTube videos, and more detailed stories on its Web site.

"As a complement to our traditional outreach, Children's identified Internet advertising as a method of reaching its prime audience of young women with children," marketers wrote on the submission form. "With the Web as a prevalent tool in this demographic, it was a natural fit."

The power of the campaign creative lies in its simplicity, marketers wrote.

"We have something that no other healthcare organization in our region does: children of all ages with incredibly compelling stories," they said. "Each child featured is a hero."

Marketing Awards judges enjoyed the campaign creative and snappy taglines, too.

"I appreciate that all of the ads have clever leads—something really important when you're trying to attract a commuter's or newspaper reader's attention," one judge wrote. "I especially love the tagline ‘We turned a boy who couldn't eat broccoli into one who wouldn't eat broccoli.'"

As a result of the effort, calls jumped 45% in the five months after the campaign and Web site visits increased by 26%. Children's online "Find a Doctor" search tool increased more than 600%.

"Although we want to highlight certain services, the child and his or her story were the determining factors," Children's marketers wrote. "We did not start this process with specific criteria. Our only needs were an incredible story and a child who, even if not cured, has made significant progress."