Sarofsky, 1o8 and Tessa team up on new Illinois Cares For Kids campaign

Through the creative leadership of 1o8, the Illinois Department of Human Services, Illinois Cares for Kids, and the Illinois Network of Child Care Resource and Referral Agencies have released the Real Life Influencer campaign.

Produced by Tessa Films, the new campaign was directed by Carrie Stett, with Andrew Wehde (The Bear, Eighth Grade) serving as director of photography. One-stop cross-media production company Sarofsky once again brought its strengths in design, animation, editing, and finishing, with color courtesy of Nolo, and music and sound design via Squeak E. Clean Studios

In mid-2022, the State of Illinois announced the launch of I Got Love / Siento Amor, a statewide enrollment campaign for child care and early education services featuring Illinois artists, musicians, and production partners. Developed with creative shop 1o8, that integrated marketing campaign spanning all media amplified the state’s one-stop-shop for all things Early Childhood Education and Care, at Illinois Cares for Kids. To date, that groundbreaking campaign has reached millions upon millions of people.

Involving an All-Star roster of Illinois-based talents, the I Got Love campaign was built around the original work of Sarofsky in collaboration with illustrator, artist, designer, and street muralist Shawn Smith. The group’s original characters and designs appeared in beautifully animated spots in both English and Spanish, and in prominent outdoor and print placements as well. Proving to be highly engaging across all demographics, the I Got Love campaign also earned critical acclaim, including winning the Platinum Award at the 2023 AVA Awards and many other illustrious honors.

Continuing to leverage Sarofsky’s look, feel, and characters created for I Got Love, the new Real Life Influencer campaign launched last week, celebrating the hardworking, influential individuals that work in Early Childhood Education and Care all over Illinois.

Real Life Influencer

Also benefiting from the multicultural marketing expertise of Chicago’s own PACO Collective, the new :30 spot encourages visits to access a treasure trove of helpful resources at

Worth noting, Sarofsky’s original designs remain in wide usage across all the Illinois Cares for Kids websites and social media platforms.

According to 1o8’s Executive Creative Director Jen Bills, “By spotlighting and featuring real providers working in Child Care, Early Intervention, and Home Visiting programs across Illinois, we know we’re going to inspire new candidates to join the workforce, and we’re humbled to be contributing to the well-being and development of Illinois children.”

For Sarofsky’s Executive Creative Director Erin Sarofsky, the results of Stett’s and Wehde’s artistry were most impressive. “Between Carrie and Andrew, they did an amazing job of creating and catching sweet moments between the providers and the children,” said Sarofsky. “The coverage was wonderful in general, reflecting masterful skill in using the light, environment, and action naturally.”

With the live-action footage in hand, Sarofsky’s team set out to use artful editing, graphics, and visual effects to position the narrative within a real-life influencer motif, while also keeping the original campaign’s visual look in play. Along with Sarofsky’s other blockbuster talents, Senior Editor Tom Pastorelle relished his starring role in the creative process. 

“Focusing on the live-action storytelling while incorporating the initial campaign’s very identifiable look into this narrative was a very fun challenge,” Pastorelle explained. “Those design touches largely come through in the transitions, supers, and opening and end graphics.”

“We have the utmost respect for everyone at 1o8, and feel deeply honored to work with everyone involved with this campaign,” added Sarofsky’s Managing Director/Executive Producer Steven Anderson. “This is one of those projects that makes us all feel like we are improving the world in important ways. Seeing how much Illinois cares for kids is a beautiful thing.”


Advertising Agency: 1o8 
Founder: Aalap Shah
Executive Creative Director: Jen Bills
Brand Strategist: Joe Valentine 
Creative Director: Greg Mills
Art Director: Lauren Schrader
Executive Producer: Mallory Sohmer
Associate Account Director: Gabi Nonneman
Account Coordinator: Moira Reed
Social Editor: Keith Guerrero
Paid Media Specialist: Evan Dorosheff
Email Marketing Director: Brienne Jepkema 
Multicultural Marketing Partner: PACO Collective 

Production Company: Tessa Films
Director: Carrie Stett
Director of Photography: Andrew Wehde
Executive Producers: Lisa Masseur, Amy McIntyre
Line Producer: Marsie Wallach
Set Decorator: Alev Yasatan
Wardrobe: Martha Heppler

Design/Animation Company: Sarofsky
Executive Creative Director: Erin Sarofsky
Executive Producer: Steven Anderson
Producers: Andrew Rosenstein, Dylan Ptak
Design/Animation: Nik Braatz, James Wignall, Nick Gardener, Luke Shelley, Daniel Geiszler
Senior Editor: Tom Pastorelle
Assistant Editors: Jesus Diaz, Henry Smalstig

Color Company: Nolo
Colorist: Mike Matusek
Color Assist: Kathleen Grimm

Original Music and Audio Post: Squeak E. Clean Studios
Creative Director & Arranger: Julie Nichols
Executive Creative Producer: Chris Clark
Senior Post Producer: Angelina Phengphong
Senior Sound Designer & Mixer: Surachai Sutthisasanakul
Assistant Engineer: Taryn Stroman