gyro offers families bottles of hope for World Wish Day


To remind us that 89 percent of health professionals believe hope can have positive psychological benefits for children diagnosed with critical illnesses, Make-A-Wish Illinois teamed with the Chicago and Denver offices of gyro to create a dynamic “Hope is Medicine” awareness-installation event at Pioneer Court.

Ahead of World Wish Day, which occurred on April 29, the agency descended on the plaza located near the junction of the Chicago River and Upper Michigan Avenue in Chicago’s Magnificent Mile, to construct enormous pill bottles containing something aspirational and inspirational inside – a child diagnosed with a critical illness can grow up to be: a doctor, a ballerina, an astronaut, a fireman and others appeared in the giant bottles.

The goal of the event, which an estimated 30,000 people were exposed to, was to make commuters and shoppers aware that Make-A-Wish actually has more wishes than ‘Wish Kids.’ According to the agency, there is often a general misconception that wishes are only for children suffering from terminal illnesses. That’s not the case. The wishes are for any child with a serious illness. In fact most go on to lead healthy lives.

MAW_gyro_Pioneer_Court An estimated 30,000 people were exposed to the campaign

World Wish Day illustrates the imperative role a wish plays in a child’s medical treatment. Research shows that a wish can help kids build the physical and emotional strength they need to fight a critical illness – an eye-opening finding in light of the fact that Make-A-Wish is currently only able to grant the wish of one of out of every two eligible children in the U.S.


Executive Creative Director of gyro Chicago/Denver, Doug Kamp, spoke with The Reel about the agency’s effort. “This campaign was a labor of love. We spent the last year-and-a-half trying to figure out how to bring it to life with favors and freebies. Nearly everything was donated from the costumes to the giant pill bottles to the printing.”

He added, “Plus, we negotiated the space for a very good rate. As it all came together, one thing was clear: Make-A-Wish is an organization that is universally loved. There were lots of passionate people really wanted to get involved by donating their products, services and time.


Ryan Blackburn, Marketing Director of Make-A-Wish Illinois expressed happiness with gyro’s effort to Reel Chicago, “This was a special day for Make-A-Wish. It was certainly one of the most unique ways we could come up with to demonstrate that Make-A-Wish grants lasting wishes, not just last wishes. It’s hard to get people’s attention these days but we certainly succeeded with this campaign. gyro has given us a great deal of their creativity and heart. We look forward to working with them on future projects that continue to transform children’s lives for the better.”

When asked about reactions to installations, Kamp enthusiastically answered, “Reactions were great. A lot of people were surprised because they didn’t know the people in the pill bottles were real. Once they realized that, they wanted to interact with them by giving them high fives and making them laugh.

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Kamp feels like the installation successful. According to him, Make-A-Wish received a ton of referrals on the spot, and heard so many stories like ‘I know a boy at school with cancer, this would be great for him.’ ‘There is someone at church that we’ve been praying for.’ ‘My grandchild is ill.’ We are fairly certain that many kids will be getting their wishes granted soon and that the hope that comes along with that will help them recover, faster.

The agency and Make-A-Wish plan to bring the installation back in different areas. One can only hope that their spectacular and hopeful effort is successful.

Agency: gyro Chicago/Denver
   Doug Kamp, Executive Creative Director
   Ted Wahlberg, Group Creative Director
   Andy Mamott, Creative Director
   Don Dunbar, Associate Creative Director
   Matt Olson, Art Director
   Raphael Cabrera, Art Director
   Zane Barry, Jr Art Director
   Vic Emond Director of Digital Delivery
   Chris Hill, President
   Tim Offenburger, Account Executive
   Whitney Hinson, Project Manager
   Veronica Feldmeier, Content Strategist
   Diane Vor Keller, Media Director
   Natalie Snyder, Head of Production
   Megan Koehler, Senior Production Designer

Contact Colin Costello at or follow him on Twitter @colincostello10.