The Serious Side of Advertising


The advertising that typically gets our attention is fun, loud, and visually stunning—a montage of elite athletes sporting the latest kicks, boneheaded stunts in pursuit of a soft drink, and poetic celebrity monologues delivered inside luxury vehicles… The list goes on.

However, there’s another side to advertising: a serious side. Because every business needs a marketing plan, but sometimes the flash and pomp isn’t appropriate.

When Child and Family Services (CFS), an organization dedicated to serving Greater Buffalo’s needs for more than 140 years, was looking to promote their counseling services, they needed a partner with the expertise to generate awareness and the skill to tactfully handle the tone of serious subject matter. They found that partner in FARM.


Listen first.
To help CFS develop a better marketing strategy, we began by listening to their current patients with the help of Pathfinder, our sibling company who specializes in research, business intelligence, and business strategy.

Our objective at this stage was to dig deeper into what made patients choose a certain clinic, what they seek most from counseling, and their experience with counseling specifically at CFS.

Informed by the market insights gained from our research, we were able to create a campaign that would truly resonate with the target audience. The messaging had to acknowledge the needs of a diverse clientele—adults, parents, and children—while staying bright and optimistic. It had to position the staff as experts serving medical needs while also showing their compassion and commitment to tailored treatment plans.

So we focused on two main themes: support and healing.


Then, execute.
CFS was looking for a robust campaign, one that would easily translate from outdoor advertising, where you need to make a quick but lasting impression, to online and print advertising, where there is more room to expand on your message.

We chose bright lifestyle photography and warm headlines on bus shelter and social ads to positively engage the audience, reducing the stigma of counseling and helping the viewer feel less alone.

Other forms of marketing, like the counseling webpage and brochures we developed for CFS, extended the design and tone of their shorter ads to form a cohesive campaign. These platforms are informative and serve to establish a deeper connection with the target audience.

Our work for CFS shows that the flashy approach to marketing doesn’t work for every business. Maybe your brand voice requires the kind of empathy to help you connect with your audience when they need it most.

If you need the marketing experience and maturity to deliver a serious—and successful—campaign, let’s chat.

Lauren Carmer, Copywriter

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