Build-A-Bear Bear Hugs

20th Anniversary

Imagine the experience of a sick child in a hospital ward, afraid and uncertain. The Build-A-Bear Foundation put themselves in these kids shoes, and decided to give back on Build-A-Bear’s 20th Birthday. The Bear Hugs initiative donated 20,000 teddy bears to 20,000 children in 24 hospitals all over the country. From the beginning the mission was simple: bring a bit of joy to a child in need. In practice, the endeavor required hundreds of Build-A-Bear employees and volunteers, a UPS sponsorship to provide logistics and shipping and the United Way to help coordinate it all.

The Opportunity:

Vidzu Media knew that a story with this much heart doesn’t come along often, so we developed an authentic story that gave life to Build-A-Bear’s mission to bring joy into the lives of 20,000 sick children.

The Approach:

We follow the journey of Bear Hugs Bears being hugged and tagged in the BAB workshop all the way to the arms of grateful children in hospitals all across America. The result is a creative and authentic story told by real BAB employees, kids, and their parents, and centered around a teddy bear made with love. Want to see the social media teasers that started it all? Click this playlist link.

The Result: The objectives were never to sell more bears or make Build-A-Bear look like heroes (although they are to us). Instead, the story had to make room for the real heroes here: the brave children and their Bear Hugs bears. All told, there were 20,000 bears delivered, and 20,000 kids with a bit more comfort and joy than they had the day before. The 4 part series with three teasers and the final brand video attracted over 400,000+ views in two weeks, with thousands of likes and comments.