Archive for the ‘Advertising Campaigns’ Category

The drug industry’s major lobbying group, the Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America, recently launched a powerful image campaign anchored by a stunning television commercial. As you probably know, the industry took a PR beating during the presidential campaign and now President Trump has taken aim at them. The new campaign, dubbed “GoBoldly,” is designed to elevate the industry in our hearts and minds. They have very effectively appropriated the work of one of my favorite poets, Dylan Thomas, to position biopharma companies as explorers, pioneers and risk-takers – “finding the unfindable.”

I’ve embedded the first TV commercial below. Enjoy! And then keep reading below.

“(This is the narrative accompanies the video on their YouTube channel.) Finding lifesaving medicines is a life’s work – the work of 140,000 researchers who never say never. As well as the millions of patients who fight side by side with researchers in the battle for life, against whatever odds they face together. Now is the time to put the accelerator to the floor. The best is yet to come – like advancements in personalized medicine and immunotherapy – and it’s coming faster than we can imagine. Welcome to the future of medicine. Where disease is no match for tenacity. No match for ingenuity. Where together, we go boldly.”

The microsite for the campaign is GoBoldly.com. It’s worth visiting. They share patient stories and celebrate advancements in medicine made possible by America’s biopharmaceutical companies. In my opinion, it is well conceived and well executed.


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Here’s another group of hospital and healthcare print ads that I clipped last week from Southwest Airlines’ in-flight magazine. These advertisers have decided to target the adult traveler – most likely the business traveler. As I’ve noted in the past, this is an attractive target market because they are willing to get on an airplane to do business and may, therefore, be willing to travel for exceptional care. They are also likely to have disposable income and commercial insurance.

One thing you’ll notice is that a couple of these ads are copy intensive (UTMB, Sarah Cannon and Cancer Treatment Centers). They are working under the assumption that people reading airline magazine (a captive audience) will spend more time with an ad.

One caveat: Please note that I scanned each of these ads and their quality has been diminished in the process. Enjoy.

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Lexington Medical Center (West Columbia, SC) is known for its annual Christmas TV commercials, and has just launched its 2015 rendition. (I’ve blogged about them in the past. Lexington Medical Center 2009 Christmas Commercial. ) This year’s spot stars a pet therapy dog traveling through the hospital to greet patients during the holidays. Other elements of the commercial include a talented lead singer, nativity scene, and a Christmas concert – evoking feelings of hope, peace and joy.

The cast of the commercial includes Lexington Medical Center employees. Although Lexington Medical Center is a client of my firm, the hospital has an impressive in-house video production team and produces its own Christmas commercial each year. The spots have become a popular holiday tradition in the Midlands of South Carolina.

“The commercial represents the values of our hospital staff and family. We wanted to wish our community a merry Christmas, and show the blessing of hope and joy of family and friends during the holiday season,” said Mark Shelley, Vice President of Marketing & Communications at Lexington Medical Center, who directed the commercial.

Each year the Christmas commercial generates a great deal of positive engagement on social media. See some of the comments below from the Facebook post where the video was shared:

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Pet therapy is a popular program at Lexington Medical Center. Pet therapy dogs visit patients in the hospital and at LMC’s skilled nursing facility. Studies have shown that pet therapy can significantly reduce pain, anxiety, depression and fatigue in people with a range of health problems, including patients receiving cancer treatment or hospitalized with chronic heart failure. Family members, friends and staff benefit as well.

The pet therapy dog in this year’s commercial is a beautiful 5-year-old golden retriever named “Bailey.”

During the past nine years that Lexington Medical Center has produced its own Christmas commercial, the spots have received tens of thousands of views online. They have also received national awards and accolades, and news coverage.

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Consider this surgical robotics ad for Venti Medical Center a cautionary tale; it goes to the extreme to demonstrate the banality of many hospital ad campaigns promoting leading edge technology. When I see ads touting new technology I always try to imagine the consumer looking at the ad with a big thought bubble over her head asking “So What?” I often clump these ads together with those promoting national rankings. If we’re going to talk about technology and rankings, we need to make it relevant (more about the consumer and less about us). Otherwise, it is just more narcissistic spewing and self-absorption. If we want to engage consumers, we need to find ways to talk about things they care about. And that starts with listening to them and caring about what they have to say. For many healthcare organizations, it will involve a major cultural shift.

3988 Venti ad


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A few months ago I was contacted by a writer (Lisa Ellis) for Strategic Health Care Marketing who was interested in writing an article about a pediatric hospitalist campaign my firm created for Signature Healthcare and Floating Hospital for Children at Tufts Medical Center. I’ve always loved the simplicity of this campaign – particularly given the perceived challenges of marketing hospitalists to healthcare consumers – something most communicators shy away from.

Lisa ended up interviewing two of my clients from Signature Healthcare for the story, along with myself. The ensuing article was published online late last week and will appear in the November issue of Strategic Health Care Marketing.

The folks at Strategic Health Care Marketing (Plain English Media) have posted a special version of the article online that can be viewed without logging in. Here’s the link:


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It is not unusual to run into a hospital or health system where there is a gap between how the organization’s brand is perceived in its service area and who that organization is today. Old reputations die hard. It is a truth that, as consumers, we are often lazy. Once we think we know something, we lock on to that knowledge or perception, and we look for evidence to reinforce it. This approach helps us to make sense of the world in which we live. So it takes a significant effort to shift those long-held perceptions. That is certainly the case with Lawrence General Hospital in Lawrence, Massachusetts.

After some significant qualitative and quantitative research as part of a brand perception study, we found that many of the perceptions of Lawrence General Hospital were related to people’s feeling about the town of Lawrence, rather than the hospital itself. The town has gone through a significant period of decline (now reversing that trend) and developed a reputation for being unsafe and run down. That negative perception impacted how people perceived Lawrence General Hospital and their willingness to visit the hospital.

InnovationRather than focus on the amazing things happening at the hospital, people were quick to turn to previously held perceptions of the hospital based on what they think they know about the area/town. Therefore, a gap has developed between perception and reality. And the unfortunate truth is that perception is reality when it comes to branding. At the same time, Lawrence General Hospital is transforming the way it delivers care within the region, and is evolving from a hospital to a true system of care. Today, it is more than it ever was; and it is positioning itself to be thrive in the new healthcare environment.

My firm was hired to conduct a brand assessment and develop the ensuing brand strategy and marketing program – which we are calling the brand elevation campaign. I thought I’d share some of the pieces from the campaign with you. This is truly a multi-channel, integrated marketing program featuring digital and traditional elements. It is the result of a terrific partnership between my team at Jennings and the marketing team at Lawrence General Hospital. The messaging, imagery and ad concepts were tested with consumer groups throughout the creative development process – and refined at each step of the process. The creative was also informed by the extensive quantitative consumer research that preceded it.

Employee Posters

As with most campaigns we produce, this one kicked off with a strong internal component. It is vital that the internal audience is on board and well informed about any new marketing initiative; this helps them to be informed brand ambassadors! In this case, the internal brand constituents were involved in the research process and with the roll out of the marketing program. Depicted below are static cling posters that were put up throughout the health system. The internal campaign included posters (clings), table tents in the cafeteria, banners, digital signage and newsletter articles. The materials were sure to create a buzz because they featured real employees of Lawrence General Hospital.

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One of Several Pop-Up Banners within the Hospital

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Examples of Poster Clings seen throughout the Health System.

Print Ads

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Ad Copy (click on image to enlarge):

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Ad Copy (click on image to enlarge):

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Ad Copy (click on image to enlarge):

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Online Video (Surgical Weight Loss Program Focus)

Online video typically plays a significant role in most of the marketing programs we produce. In this case, the video will be shared on the hospital’s website, YouTube, Facebook, and Google+, among others. We are also running online video ads using Facebook, YouTube and several other digital channels/networks. Below are a few of the videos from the campaign; these promote bariatric surgery specifically. Overall, there we nearly 20 videos produced as part of this marketing initiative.

Digital Ads

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I love it when small hospitals win! My business partner (Paige Zinn) and I have made a commitment to not let our agency get to the point where we can no longer work with small hospital clients. Community and critical access hospitals need good marketing as much as big academic medical centers; maybe more. That’s why I am so excited that a couple of our smaller hospital clients have done really well in this year’s Healthcare Advertising Awards and Aster Awards – both national competitions.

The Outer Banks Hospital (21 beds) won awards in both competitions for its Urgent Care radio spot. It is so rewarding to have this small community hospital in Nags Head, NC win this level of recognition.

3331_300x250_banner_SWTAnother winner in the small hospital category was Brattleboro Memorial Hospital (BMH), a 61-bed, not-for-profit community hospital located in southeastern Vermont. It serves a rural population of about 55,000 people in 22 towns in Vermont, New Hampshire and Massachusetts. BMH’s emergency services campaign won a Gold Aster Award and a Gold Healthcare Advertising Award. It also won Silver Awards for radio and print elements of the campaign. My congratulations go out to BMH, its marketing team, and its CEO who gave us the go ahead for this campaign. Thanks Steve!

Here’s some of the work from the winning BMH emergency services campaign. The graphics are simple, yet iconic – and extremely low cost. (I’m just showing the print element in this post, but this was an integrated campaign that included digital and traditional components.) Enjoy!

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