March of Dimes Effort Pushes March for Babies

Barkley PSAs Urge People to Walk by Capturing Kids' First Steps

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The March of Dimes is launching its first campaign in three years for its main fundraiser, the March for Babies. The effort promotes the nonprofit's walkathon, formerly known as WalkAmerica, a series of events around the country in April and early May.

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March of Dimes: March for Babies

"Milestones are very important in the life cycle of having children, raising children and being a parent," says Patty Goldman, VP-CMO of March of Dimes. "With babies born prematurely, these milestones are even more important. When they take their first steps may be delayed. We wanted to demonstrate that these milestones that [many] take for granted are big events for these parents."

The new creative, done in conjunction with Barkley, Kansas City, Mo., focuses on babies' first steps, and includes TV, outdoor, digital, social media and iPhone apps. To keep within the nonprofit's budget, the TV spots were shot by one director using his own camera and featured babies selected through local social media. The spots show these babies within their first week of walking.

"Through social media, we found parents and babies who were at this stage of life and and filmed them," Goldman says. "We carried this theme through to this major walking event that we support.

"This was the first year we did a good job of making it holistic around a theme," she adds. "[Barkley was] very helpful in thinking about that synergy and working through with it. The ideas of stronger, healthier babies needs to be conveyed and also that we want [the public] to take action by participating in this event."

Last year, walking events were held in more than 900 locations around the U.S., drawing over 1 million volunteers and walkers. Counting corporate support, the events raised about $103 million.

The money goes to research to help prevent premature births as well as birth defects. According to Goldman, more than 500,000 babies -- or one in eight -- are born preterm in the U.S. each year. With the help of research, that rate is dropping.

Says Goldman, "If we all come together, we can see these babies as happy, healthy adults in the future."

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