It’s one of the most heartbreaking things someone can endure: wanting to conceive and not being able to. But it’s a story familiar to the 12% of U.S. women of childbearing age who are unable to get pregnant within a year of trying.
This is the subject of the first national brand campaign for the Colorado Center for Reproductive Medicine, a network of fertility treatment centers fast becoming one of the largest in the country. "The First Name In Fertility," created by New York agency Terri & Sandy, aims to shed light on the difficult experiences shared by so many families.
"This campaign was all about bringing real stories to life of individuals, families or couples who wanted to have babies and were having trouble conceiving," said Sandy Greenberg, co-founder & CEO of Terri & Sandy. "It’s an emotionally rich topic."
CCRM brought T&S onboard just two months ago as its first AOR. The near-unheard-of campaign turnaround is thanks to an equally unusual development process – CCRM purchased the creative from the pitch outright, including the campaign and a logo redesign.
"It’s kind of a miracle, but it changed very little," Greenberg said. The main difference was the addition of real-life stories to illustrate the value of CCRM’s services, targeted to women age 25-44.
"The overall growth in this category is the fact that we have more working women now, and the fact that they’re delaying childbirth and they’re running into issues with viable eggs and conceiving," Greenberg said.
Fertility treatments are indeed becoming a big business. A recent Pew Research poll found that American women are waiting longer to have kids, but are also having more once they do – a lucrative combination for the already-multibillion dollar industry. In recognition of the potential, venture capitalists are investing heavily in fertility startups, and private equity firms are backing clinics eyeing national expansion – among them CCRM.
In 2015, the company got a boost from Boston firm TA Associates to open even more clinics around the country and, eventually, the world. At the time, CCRM president and CEO Jon Pardew said that the infusion would "broaden our network of leading fertility laboratories. In addition, the highly fragmented U.S. IVF market, with approximately 500 clinics, presents possible future M&A opportunities for CCRM." With that expansion in mind, CCRM yesterday announced a partnership with Progyny, Inc., a fertility benefits company that eases access to fertility treatments through employer-sponsored health care.
Multi-year plans require a multi-year campaign, and T&S is already mapping out how to continue the conversation that has started with "First Name." It may include a second campaign the agency presented to CCRM during the pitching process, which Greenberg hesitated to share details on at the moment. Additional work is also likely to highlight CCRM’s services beyond infertility treatments, like egg-freezing and donation. Thematically, it will explore some of the difficulties that emerge from long-term infertility struggles.
"As we get deeper into this campaign, we want to address the stories of isolation," Greenberg said. "[Women] go in with an optimistic manner believing they can get pregnant, but the longer it goes on, the more difficult it becomes. It can be depressing seeing everyone around you having kids while you’re having your own struggles and not necessarily telling anyone about them."
It will also take time, said Greenberg, to help consumers understand that despite its name, CCRM is a nationwide service provider. To that end "First Name," which is otherwise a national digital campaign, includes highly localized print and radio elements that tap into cities’ cultural references. "[It’s] to say, ‘Hey, this famous name that’s in fertility is also in Boston or DC or SF,’ to make people in those areas aware that CCRM is now in their neighborhood," Greenberg said.
Ultimately, both CCRM and T&S hope that the campaign will shift cultural conversations around fertility, bringing families’ struggles to the surface and normalizing the issue.
"We want to open the discussion up around inspiration, encouragement and community, having women and men voicing their support for other people going through it," Greenberg said. "And we want to have CCRM be at the forefront of that discussion."