Not all ad campaigns are created equal— in terms of overall quality, creativity, and appeal, of course, but also when it comes to importance and magnitude. Depending on what a brand is selling or providing, the impact of their campaigns on people’s lives can be seismic. This is the case for the healthcare and abortion provider Hey Jane, who understands full well that the success of their marketing can literally be lifesaving.
One of Hey Jane’s latest advertising efforts is an OOH billboard campaign that provides critical geographic landmarks to those in more restrictive states near Hey Jane locations in certain parts of Illinois. Their billboards have been placed in Gary, IN, St. Louis, MO, East St. Louis, IL, and Lansing, IL, and serve as giant beacons of information— and hope— for those in need of care.
At a time when abortion providers are increasingly at risk for their work, this campaign is a true act of bravery. “Working on our first-ever billboard campaign has been an incredibly impactful experience for us,” Hey Jane CEO Kiki Freedman told me via email. “We feel privileged to be able to contribute to the goal of ensuring access to reproductive health care, especially in light of the Dobbs decision and the subsequent restrictions we’ve seen across the country. It’s both humbling and motivating to know that we are making a difference in the lives of individuals who are seeking out safe and accessible abortion care.”
Since the overturning of Roe v. Wade in June 2022, Hey Jane has seen an extreme 301% increase in patients in Illinois. This surge surpasses all other states from which Hey Jane operates, highlighting the important role cross-state care plays for so many seeking treatment, as well as the general desperation for reproductive healthcare services that continues to grow. In a time when many states are looking to pass legislation that extends beyond in-state care and restricts those seeking out-of-state abortions, Hey Jane’s billboards represent the movement to stand strong against those efforts.
While Freedman understands that abortion care can be a controversial, hot button issue, she and her team at Hey Jane are adamant that such a framing is incredibly dangerous. “We firmly believe that access to abortion is an essential aspect of health care, despite attempts by some to create polarization around it,” she said. “One in four people with a uterus will have an abortion in their lifetime, and the majority of people in the United States support abortion access. Rather than perpetuate this unfounded stigma around abortion, we believe there’s power in openly talking about abortion, sharing medically accurate information, and letting people know that they still have options in this post-Roe world.”
In our hyper-digital era, a billboard campaign might feel a bit old school, but for Hey Jane’s purposes, the immediacy, size, and physicality of a billboard campaign is the perfect medium for their message. The blue billboards with white text and peach accents are bold and graphic, yet still tender and soothing at the same time. The copywriting is direct and clear, aligning with the import of their message.
“The main benefit of our OOH billboard campaign is visibility,” elaborated Freedman. “Those who stigmatize abortion rely on turning it into a taboo topic and creating confusion. Our OOH campaign directly challenges this by not being afraid to talk about abortion and showing that Hey Jane is here, providing safe and effective abortion care.”
The mere existence of these billboards sends a message, bringing a topic that is too often relegated to whispers and hushed tones, and blowing it up to the largest scale imaginable. Freedman continued: “The physical presence of our billboards is not only eye-catching, but also meant to destigmatize sharing information about abortion care— and allows us to show up for people, rather than forcing them to seek us out.”