Guardians of Childhood billboard

We do what’s right for kids.

Just about anyone who works at St. Louis Children’s Hospital can recite the hospital’s mission without so much as a second thought.

“But what does that mean to the parents of our patients? What does it mean to our community?” asks Jackie Ferman, director of communications and marketing at Children’s. “These are the questions that grounded our process as we endeavored to create a new ad campaign.”

That process began more than a year ago when the communications and marketing department, in partnership with the St. Louis Children’s Hospital Foundation, began the search for a new agency to develop a campaign, one that would show the full arc of care the hospital provides, and help distinguish SLCH as a worthy charitable cause in the region.

“We vetted more than a dozen agencies,” recalls Suzanne Fontaine, director of events and marketing for the St. Louis Children’s Hospital Foundation. “Three presented concepts, but one clearly stood out from the crowd.”

By the fall of 2015, J. Walter Thompson, an award winning advertising agency, with an office in Chicago, was named the new agency of record for St. Louis Children’s Hospital. JWT has experience in pediatrics and healthcare, as well as fund-raising.

The concept that earned them the business: Guardians of Childhood™.

“As we grew more familiar with the culture and mission of St. Louis Children’s Hospital, we realized this place isn’t just about sick kids,” says Erin Clark, Managing Director, JWT. “The hospital cares for children who are sick and looks out for those who are well. Essentially, Children’s has a parent’s back.”

That concept, along with the signature arch in the Children’s logo, informed the creation of the artwork.

The arch is a shelter – the umbrella that guards children and families.

The messaging uses the two legs of the arch to illustrate the range of services the hospital provides, “from here to there.”

From allergies to asthma.

From hairline fractures to growth plate breaks.

“The words and the imagery so eloquently illustrate our collective purpose. Whether you’re on the staff at St. Louis Children’s Hospital or Washington University School of Medicine, or a donor, or a parent or grandparent – together, we are all Guardians of Childhood,” Ferman says.

The campaign began on March 14 with television and online advertisements, and will continue to roll out in phases in coming months.