Safety 1st is a Dorel Juvenile Group (DJG) brand that makes child safety products, including high chairs and car seats.
In 2004, DJG began a long-term initiative called “Get on Board with Child Safety” (GOB) in partnership with The National Association of Children's Hospitals and Related Institutions (NACHRI).
The latest effort, “Safety House,” was designed to provide children's hospitals with educational materials and childproofing products.
“We needed something that could... [educate],” says Annette Maggiacomo, director of PR at AOR Duffy & Shanley.
Each hospital has different needs, and the team worked with NACHRI to determine the best approach. The solution was to create a portable display that didn't have to be staffed and could fit into existing injury prevention programs. Maggiacomo notes that the displays needed to be versatile and work in a variety of settings.
One display, educational materials, and a first round of products were free. DJG offered a low-cost purchasing program to restock products.
“Giving away the first round of products was a natural evolution [because] we needed more coverage in all hospitals,” says Marianne Pyliotis, marketing communications manager at DJG.
The displays were built to look like a house and emphasize the need for childproofing homes. Each came with 52 products. Educational materials included tips in English and Spanish. Some information was printed on the display, and brochures were available to take.
Each hospital was responsible for marketing their house. Maggiacomo says the team provided suggestions, including banners, fliers, table tents, coupons, and mentions in newsletters and on Web sites. The agency also gave each hospital an article to use.
As an example, she says that at Hasbro Children's Hospital in Providence, RI, the staff hosted a press conference showcasing the house and provided personal stories of unintentional injuries. The local media, a top news station, doctors, and families were invited to the event.
Safety Houses were shipped to 115 hospitals, surpassing the goal of 100. Almost 6,000 products were distributed.
The cut-off for requesting houses was at the end of September, but it was extended until the end of the year because Maggiacomo says many hospitals were still asking for them.
Pyliotis is “extremely pleased” with the results, and hopes all 218 NACHRI hospitals have houses by the end of the year.
Maggiacomo adds, “The hospitals did a great job pitching local media on the need for education and the availability of these products and hospital experts, which resulted in a great health segment.”
The overall GOB initiative will continue, and the agency will oversee all PR efforts.
DJG will keep offering hospitals the low-cost purchasing program to help them stock their houses. Maggiacomo says the team will look to expand education efforts and that other hospitals are currently scheduling similar efforts.
Child safety education is an important, never-ending task. This was a very practical way to extend reach. Giving away products was a wise move in ensuring that as many hospitals as possible got materials.
Hopefully the low-cost purchasing program will keep the effort alive in most hospitals. Even if only half continue, this campaign has still had an impact in furthering education and in positioning DJG and partner hospitals as resources.
PR team: Dorel Juvenile Group (Foxboro, MA) and Duffy & Shanley (Providence, RI)
Campaign: The Safety House Initiative
Duration: February-September 2008