UofL Health Care University Hospital was negatively perceived for Obstetrics care.  In 2000, the hospital Obstetrics unit was completely renovated, putting it on a par with surrounding hospitals.  As agency of record, Weber Shandwick was charged with increasing awareness of the brand new, state-of-the-art Center for Women and Infants, positioning University Hospital as a viable new alternative to more established hospitals and reducing negative perceptions of University Hospital.
With a limited budget, traditional image advertising was impractical.  Instead, Weber Shandwick recommended creating an event that would concentrate impact and create the opportunity for viewing the hospital in a new way.  The event was called Baby Fair and presented University Hospital to those who had not previously considered it.  It was staged at a downtown convention center instead of the hospital to minimize negative perceptions about the hospital’s urban location.
The target market was women aged 18-35 who were expecting or planning to start a family.  TV, radio and newspaper advertising as well as pre-event publicity were used to generate awareness.  Awareness among OB-GYN practice groups was created via delivery of a gift basket containing a video, brochures, brochure stand and an invitation, plus a sheet cake with the event logo.  Weber Shandwick negotiated a partnership with a radio station group who added promotional support, additional sponsors and personalities, entertainment and vendors.  Additionally, Weber Shandwick negotiated a trade with the local transit authority to provide bus service for the shuttle.
Baby Fair was an all-day event held on a Saturday.  Free shuttle service between the convention center and the hospital was provided throughout the day to facilitate tours of the new unit. 
Weber Shandwick developed all creative in-house.  The budget for the event was $80,000, which included planning, coordination, creative development and production charges.  Advertising media costs were approximately $80,000.
The daylong event included something for everyone:
  • Free Gifts – First 99 expectant mothers received a baby gift bag
  • Major Prize Giveaways – High chair donated by a local TV station; Trust Fund for Your Child’s College Education compliments of Kentucky Education Savings Plan Trust
  • Presentations by UofL Health Care medical staff – “What You Should Know About SIDS,” “The Benefits of Breastfeeding” and “What to Expect During Labor”
  • Facility Tours – Continuous tours of UofL Health Care’s new state-of-the-art OB facilities
  • Educational Entertainment – “What to Expect When She’s Expecting” and “Child Safety and the Prevention of Tragedies”
  • Children’s Entertainment – An interactive presentation by a children’s songwriter
  • Printed Information – Booths containing informational brochures, etc.
According to the turnstile count, approximately 4,000 people attended Baby Fair, far surpassing the expected 1,500.  More than 100 people took advantage of the shuttle to the hospital for a tour of the new facilities.  Additionally, a standing-room-only crowd of more than 100 people attended each presentation made by UofL Health Care’s medical staff.
The birth rate at UofL Health Care increased from 1,762 in 1999 to 1,940 in 2000.  Of course, the true results will be apparent in April 2001, nine months after the event.
The client was so pleased with the event and its results they engaged Weber Shandwick to plan and execute another Baby Fair in 2001.