GENESEE COUNTY — At the replica fire station, two little girls wearing miniature firefighter coats waited for their turn at the wheel of a big yellow fire truck.
Across the room, a young boy shopped for groceries at the Smart Mart, a replica supermarket that is one of the most popular attractions among more than 40 exhibits at the Flint Children’s Museum, 1602 W University Avenue.
These hands-on activities well illustrate the museum’s newly coined slogan “where the power of play inspires lifelong learning.”
The slogan is part of a free multimedia ad campaign, valued at more than $100,000, created for the museum by the American Advertising Federation of Greater Flint (AAF-GF).
AAF-GF chose the Children’s Museum as the 2012 recipient for its biannual Create & Collaborate Project. Since 2008, the group has chosen one local non-profit every other year for the honor.
The Boys & Girls Club of Greater Flint was the 2008 recipient and Habitat for Humanity was the 2010 recipient.
At a press conference last week, AAFGF unveiled the results of its efforts on behalf of the Children’s Museum.
Lue Grady, AAF-GF public service projects chairperson and Dave Perry, AAF-GF president, introduced a collection of digital, print and broadcasting advertising and a billboard and wall mural created to promote the museum.
That included colorful images of children at play with a script inviting target audiences to “remember the last time you took the kids someplace where they didn’t want to leave. Where digital games were forgotten and exploration was the task of the day. Where something meaningful was learned without even knowing it.”
The comprehensive ad campaigns were scheduled to launch on June 15.
“To say that we are grateful is an understatement,” said Brian Dilworth, executive director of the museum.
“To say that we are honestly in awe is an understatement about what you have given us. It’s more than $100,000 You can’t put a price on the type of quality and exposure that you have given us and that you chose us tells us that you know we do make a difference in the lives of the children, in the lives of the community and in the lives of everybody who walks in this door. The impact this will have on us is significant.”
Kimberly Roddy, museum director of public relations, added that the museum has tremendous growth potential and the ad campaign is just the start of “good things” happening.
“I am super excited to see where the museum goes, she said, adding that increasing public awareness is very important.
The museum also is collaborating on programs with the Flint Institute of Music and the Flint Institute of Art.
“Everyone is reaching out to us in trying to make this summer special for our kids,” said Dilworth, who invited guests to tour the museum to see what’s on offer.
In addition to exhibits, the museum offers a full calendar of daily activities. For example, a Watermelon Seed Spitting contest is scheduled for June 23, a birthday party for Princess Diana is coming up on July 1 and on July 7 children visiting the museum can celebrate National Ice Cream Cone Day by learning how to make homemade ice cream. See the complete calendar online at www.flintchildrensmuseum.org/ or call (810) 767-5437.
The AAF-GF is made up of local advertising, marketing and communications professionals. Every other year, it takes applications from non-profit organizations interested in becoming the next candidate for the Create and Collaborate Project.
“The Create and Collaborate Partnerships provides thousands of dollars in professional consulting as well as professional media design,” Perry said.
Flint’s program is being watched with interest by other AAF clubs, according to Chris McDonald, AAF District 6 governor and past president of AAF-GF. Other clubs in the district are doing