Award-winning advertising and marketing services agency SmithGifford is lighting up the Washington, D.C., metro area this holiday season with a new, interactive fundraising campaign for its client, Children’s National, one of the nation’s top-five children’s hospitals.

The multimedia effort, “Light Up Dr. Bear” features 316 “Dr. Bear” figures strategically placed in heavily trafficked areas like town centers and shopping malls throughout the D.C. metro area and at the hospital, its community clinics and outpatient centers. Modeled after Children’s National’s iconic mascot, Dr. Bear, the bears represent the 316 patient beds at Children’s National.

Throughout the holiday season, all 316 bears will light up simultaneously whenever a donor makes a donation via website or text.  The donation triggers a light emitting diode (LED) transferred to each bear via an Internet-of-Things managed cloud platform.  To make a donation or find a bear, donors can visit or text Light10 to 50555 to send a gift.*

“For this campaign, we turned donating into an experience that could be shared simultaneously throughout the community by both donor and families being cared for at Children’s National,” said SmithGifford Founder-CEO Matt Smith.  “Our creative strategy includes patients and their families reacting to the bears lighting up so donors can see the impact of their donation, in the hospital and in front of them.”

The campaign is a multimedia effort that includes TV spots, print, digital, out-of-home, social media and experiential/event, all handled by SmithGifford. Marketing services agency LMO was responsible for media buying, while public relations and influencer marketing duties were handled by Ketchum.  The campaign will run through Dec. 31, supporting Children’s National in its efforts to find cures, fuel innovation, and provide world-class care to every child, regardless of illness, injury or ability to pay.

“One of the most rewarding aspects of this campaign comes when the bears light up throughout the hospital showing the children, their families and their caregivers how much the community cares about them,” said SmithGifford President Trisha Pierce.  “The wonder of this technology is that it sparks a real emotion and creates a community of giving.”

The full campaign includes a wide variety of touchpoints such as pop-up events with street teams at bear locations to show them in action and share on social media as well as a behind-the-scenes video of the bears in production.  An integration with iHeart radio is also planned, and a bear will do a guest takeover of a popular local Instagram account later in the campaign. And on New Year’s Eve one of the bears will do a special countdown to 2019.

As Washington, D.C.’s only hospital specializing in kids, Children’s National treats the whole child and the whole family with a child-centered focus. This approach includes medical equipment and facilities that are specifically designed for kids, care teams with specialized training for kids’ healthcare and emotional needs, and unique programs for play, including art and music therapy, a library and reading room, Seacrest Studios and the Healing Garden.


  • Agency: SmithGifford
  • CEO: Matt Smith
  • President: Trisha Pierce
  • Creative Director of Art: Bill Cutter
  • Creative Director of Copy: Lisa Biskin
  • Account Supervisor: Melissa Astorga
  • Associate Creative Director of Copy: Rachel Cook
  • Senior Art Director: Melanie Fitts
  • Account Manager: Jordan McIninch
  • Art Director: Antoine Fagan
  • Producer: Dana Cole
  • Creative Technology: Autonomy
  • Still Photographer: Eli Meir Kaplan
  • Video Director: TwinTaoers
  • Music: RMI Music
  • Editorial & Visual Effects: Society
  • Bear Fabrication: The Falcon Lab

*Recurring SMS subscription service. Msg&Data Rates May Apply. Text STOP to 50555 to STOP. Full terms: Privacy Policy:

SmithGifford, a Capitol Communicator sponsor, is a creatively owned, Falls Church, VA-based agency, that came into the world in 2002, started by much-awarded advertising veterans looking to do outstanding work without conglomerate compromise. Specializing in strategic, integrated creative, branding and advertising, SmithGifford excels at developing messaging meant to be experienced, and not just seen. The agency’s culture of good work, good people makes it a destination for a range of national and local clients from healthcare, nonprofit, retail, tech and manufacturing.


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