TeethFirst! A Campaign Comes to Life!

At GLAD WORKS, we love to champion a good cause. When a client comes to us with a project that strikes our hearts, we get deeply involved. Their mission becomes our mission. We bring it home with us, we think about it on the weekends, we talk about it with our friends. For the past two years, we’ve had the honor of helping Rhode Island KIDS COUNT (among many of its partner agencies) launch TeethFirst!, an oral health literacy campaign aimed at families, health care providers, dentists and community organizations that promotes early dental visits for very young children. We’ve been working on this campaign before it even had a name, and after the official launch last week, we’d love to talk about our experience.

The beginnings

Sometimes a project at GLAD WORKS doesn’t start with something as simple as a person walking into the studio and asking us to design a website and a few posters.  Sometimes we are there before there's even anything to design a campaign around! This was certainly the case for this project. Before the campaign even had a name, we were there, participating in leadership team meetings and designing focus group materials to help us define the audience, establish a tone and choose imagery that would make that important connection with people. We helped design flow charts and arrange graphic organizers for grant applications. We tossed around names and taglines, and we made doodles of little cartoon babies with toothy smiles. We collaborated and designed and we talked and talked and talked. In no time at all, this project became our baby too.

Taking shape

After the focus group materials had been reviewed and a name and tagline voted on, we got to work on narrowing our focus. There are many issues related to childhood oral care, so it took some deliberating to decide where the focus should be. It was decided that the initiative and campaign should focus on children visiting the dentist by age one. Conventional wisdom has always been that children should see a dentist starting at age three, but research shows that sooner is better. Getting kids to the dentist by age one is recommended by The American Dental Association, American Academy of Pediatrics and the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry, but how do we get everyone on board with this new idea?

Parents, pediatricians, dentists and the community as a whole have being going by the age three rule for ages. Our challenge was to design a campaign that would introduce this new concept and get folks to act on it.

Appealing to everyone

In order to appeal to families, health care providers, dentists and community organizations, we had to design a website and campaign materials that would show that we are dealing with a children’s issue, but also be taken seriously by parents and various professionals. It couldn’t be too clinical, but it couldn’t be too whimsical either. Also, the copy for the website and campaign materials had to be tailored to four different audiences—five if you count that it’s all in English and Spanish!

Click here to view the whole site in all it's glory!  Below is a picture of the brochure we designed.

TeethFirst Brochure

TeethFirst! chose to have GLAD WORKS take some original photography instead of using stock photos or illustration because they thought it really important to feature real Rhode Island kids, parents and dental professionals. This way, they figured, folks would see familiar faces when they encountered the campaign.  As it turned out, our operations director’s daughter was the perfect age and had the perfect smile to be the adorable poster baby for the campaign!

We even get our own kids involved in our projects!

The launch event

It’s not every day that we get to attend an event to launch a project we’ve worked on. Many times, things leave our doors and we don’t get to see how people react to them, but this time was different. At a well-attended event last week, many members of the oral healthcare community gathered to celebrate the official campaign launch. The event was a great success, and we were pleased to see so many approving faces in the crowd! To see pictures from the event go here!  You may even see a few photos of our famous little poster baby!

So much more to do

The launch of the website and development of campaign materials are only small parts of our involvement with TeethFirst!  There are still many pages of the website left to be written and more great stuff to do for the rest of the campaign. We are so excited to still be very involved, and we cannot wait to see some statistics change, proving that what we’re doing is working!

Little ones should visit the dentist by age one, GLAD WORKS friends!  Pass it on and help TeethFirst! become a story of smashing success.

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