Creative in association withGear Seven
The Center for Youth Wellness and Evolution Bureau Launch National Campaign to Promote Stress Health
Marketing & PR
Hot Springs, USA
'The Things We Carry' film created by EVB promotes the awareness initiative about the effects of childhood trauma and aims to reach 25 million millennials

Advertising agency Evolution Bureau launched a compelling national campaign about toxic stress for Stress Health, a brand it created for San Francisco-based pediatric health care nonprofit The Center for Youth Wellness. “The Things We Carry,” is a $1 million-plus effort to build awareness about adverse childhood experiences (ACEs) and the lingering effect toxic stress has on people’s health throughout life.

"With 34.8 million children--almost half of all U.S. children aged 0-18--impacted by childhood adversity and at risk for long-term physical, mental and behavioral outcomes, this campaign sounds an alarm about a public health crisis that's hidden in plain sight." said Dr. Nadine Burke Harris, CEO/Founder of Center For Youth Wellness and author of The Deepest Well: Healing the Long-Term Effects of Childhood Adversity. "Stress Health is part of our effort to transform pediatric health care through early identification and prevention of childhood adversity and toxic stress and change how society responds to this urgent health issue."

The work breaks this month and will run throughout this year and 2019. The campaign’s aim? To reach 25 million parents by the end of 2018.

The buy will rely heavily on digital media to deliver its early intervention and prevention message to a millennial moms—women born between 1981 to 1996—who accounted for 82% of U.S. births in 2016, according to Pew Research. Media strategies include Facebook advertising, video ad units and an influencer campaign with blogger moms. The ads can also be viewed at the Stress Health website, also created in part by Evolution Bureau.

In the campaign’s centerpiece two-minute film, a young boy wakes up in a makeshift fort/bed and sets about his morning routine. But soon it is clear that his work is solitary—and not about getting himself ready for school. He collects beer bottles, sweeps up broken wallboard and tiptoes across the apartment floor to deliver an ice pack to his abused mother. He stashes the trash he collects in plastic bags and packs them away in the closet. When we revisited him in adulthood as a new dad, guess what’s still there?

“When I was a kid I used to think, ‘If I could just grow up, I could leave this all behind,’” he says in a voiceover as his adult self goes about taking out the trash in the same apartment. He speaks about breaking the cycle and is shown being a loving husband and father while a narrator explains how CWY helps families remove the baggage of ACEs—or, better yet, not accumulate them in the first place. Along with the longer-form edit, the ad is cut into 60-, 30- and two 15-second versions.

"Toxic stress is a health issue where children's biography becomes their biology. That's why the primary goal of Stress Health is to help parents recognize the powerful force they can be in preventing and reversing the impacts of toxic stress in their children," added Jabeen Yusuf, Director of Marketing and Communications at Center For Youth Wellness and overseeing the Center's public education initiative.

“We’re proud to work with Dr. Harris and the CYW team to help stamp out toxic stress,” says Evolution Bureau CCO John Reid. “Throughout this entire process, from concepting through production, it was amazing to hear how many of us had been personally affected by this issue. It’s an important mission that we’re thrilled to be a part of.”

Source for the 34.8 Million stat: Child and Adolescent Health Measurement Initiative (2013). “Overview of Adverse Child and Family Experiences among US Children.” Data Resource Center, supported by Cooperative Agreement 1‐U59‐MC06980‐01 fromthe U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA), Maternal and Child Health Bureau (MCHB). Available at

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