When Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta (CHOA) decided to embark on a new campaign to raise awareness among potential donors about their three-year fundraising initiative, they began with some marketing research. 

The not-for-profit healthcare system, which has three hospitals and 27 neighborhood locations throughout Georgia, delved into the data surrounding its patient populations and came up with some notable findings. 

“One of the insights that were new for us was that we had always seen, historically, that people wanted to give to buildings,” Tim Whitehead, VP of marketing and communications at CHOA says. “They wanted to see something created with the money they had donated. For many, that’s gone, that’s out the window. They instead want to see an impact on a group of people. It’s a great fit for us to be able to show the lasting impact on kids. It’s a good message that crosses over.”

To convey that sentiment, CHOA turned to Chemistry, a full-service marketing communications agency, to help them create a spot titled “Nothing Matters More Than Kids at Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta.” 

The 78-second long video uses both real-life young patients (among the million treated annually by CHOA) and actors to portray the lives that the organization changes. Footage shot in CHOA facilities as well as of kids getting on with living their best lives add up to a moving plea. 

Both Whitehead and Chris Breen, CCO at Chemistry, describe the campaign as targeting diverse groups from “convenience contributors” to “enthusiastic donors.” Despite differences, these cohorts all share one trait in common: They respond favorably when learning about the immediate impact CHOA has in their city and state. 

“Ultimately, as we were talking to all those different audiences who are hit up by many different organizations, you have to find a way to make them stop for a minute and recognize that they can help kids in their backyard,” Breen says. “It’s wonderful to help anyone, but there is an immediacy when you see the messaging and how it connects to Georgia.”

Chemistry subsequently turned to Jamie Rafn with Smuggler, a national production company, to direct the spot. “We went through a pretty exhaustive search and several rounds,” Breen says. “Jamie could pull out the emotion and those intimate moments where people are vulnerable. It was important for us that you could feel that vulnerability. He’s wonderful at doing that.”

In Whitehead’s estimation, the strength of both the spot and additional aspects of the campaign which includes digital display, radio, OOH and other activations, is that by grounding them in the stories of patients, the campaign achieves meaningful authenticity with the audience. He thinks the campaign also hits numerous other empathetic notes. 

“We hope the spot elicits vulnerability, happiness and connection,” he says. “There’s a moment where an older kid and a younger kid have a moment of a shared smile. That’s about a connection. Human connection via smart storytelling is central to the campaign, no matter where and how it plays out.” 

Breen and Whitehead note that there is more to come from this collaboration, as the end of the year is a crucial time to approach donors, though neither were ready to share details of what comes next quite yet. 

Whitehead says he hopes that with this phase of the campaign, its target audiences recognize there is a larger community with shared interests and goals. 

“This campaign is about communicating to parents and donors that we share a common interest in the lives of kids, celebrating childhoods and giving every child their best chance at tomorrow,” he says.

“The people that work there are kind of magical and they do give everything they have for the children that they serve,” Breen adds. “Not a lot of places care for kids like the people at CHOA do. We wanted to put our audience in their shoes, so they can feel what these kids feel.”