We receive a lot of exciting things in the mail here at our North Carolina-based advertising agency. Like a left shoe, a severed hand, and boxes of protein bars. But no package is torn open as eagerly as a completed project.


Last week, the Tattoo team received the Jeff Gordon Children’s Foundation 2013 Annual Report. “When I Grow Up” takes a hard look at the foundation’s battle against late-term effects. “Late-term effects” is an awfully gentle term to describe the terrible consequences adult cancer treatments have on pediatric cancer survivors. The Jeff Gordon Children’s Foundation is fighting to find more child-specific cancer treatments, ones that won’t leave their fingerprints on the future of these children.


Before work began on this 34-page annual report, the team had to decide how to approach the topic in a way that wouldn’t scare people off. No Sarah McLachlan music in our work.  Thinking back to our own childhoods, some longer ago than others, we remembered the carefree way we assumed our future was guaranteed. “When I grow up” is a phrase synonymous with childhood. It is usually followed by a laundry list of unrealistic job prospects. For children with childhood cancer, growing up to be a baseball player or superhero or a baseball-playing superhero is not top priority. First and foremost in their minds is simply surviving with as much of their health as possible. When they grow up, children with childhood cancer hope to be free from the terrifying grip of late-term effects.


Admittedly, this subject matter is a step away from our typical work. Everyone in this Charlotte advertising agency wore their grown-up hats for a few months while working on this annual report. Even so, diving deeply into the area of pediatric cancer proved more emotionally difficult than anticipated. In fact, none of our writers completed an entire section with dry eyes.


With a name like Tattoo Projects, you don’t expect to see many softies. But, apparently, we’re not all as tough as we thought.




And yes, we totally had to Google how to spell McLachlan.