Low-budget Campaign Animates Community

Marianne Aiello, for HealthLeaders Media , February 17, 2010

This winter, Children's Hospital of Illinois at OSF Saint Francis Medical Center faced a dilemma that many hospital marketers have recently tackled: Its marketers wanted to launch a vibrant, influential campaign, but were struggling with a limited budget. However, thanks to a little resolve and resourcefulness, the Peoria, IL, children's hospital launched a campaign that has received accolades from organizations both in and outside of healthcare.

The hospital's marketers decided to create a new campaign because they were about to break ground on a new facility, launch a capital campaign, and hadn't done a branding effort in more than five years.

"We needed to bump up the name recognition and refresh that image of children's hospital so that when we came knocking at the door when meeting with donors we didn't have to spend a lot of time explaining who we were," says Judy Winker, the hospital's director of marketing.

Winkler worked with Kansas City, MO, agency Muller Bressler Brown to craft an attention-grabbing integrated campaign, despite their financial restraints.

"We didn't have a huge budget, so from the get go we ruled out live action because we really wanted to make it special," says Shan Neely, the agency's creative director. "We really wanted to do something that would stand out in the healthcare market and, since it was for a children's hospital, animation really made sense."

Then the agency drafted the creative, which includes TV, radio, print, and outdoor.

The branding campaign launched in February and ran through September, with a re-flight planned for in early 2010. Both Neely and Winker have received a positive feedback from other hospitals and non-healthcare organizations, most citing the campaign's uniqueness.

"It was a lot of fun and something that is outside the expectation of a healthcare campaign," Neely says. "So many of them are about a sick kid, but we wanted something that was a little bit more and wanted to appeal to the inner child of adults too. Something that's more fanciful would be attention-getting and evoke an emotional feeling."

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