It opens with a doctor and a patient, sitting inside a hospital room. The doctor is speaking, while holding a device. The patient nods in agreement. A voice over describes the brand new technology the hospital offers to treat a condition. We cut back to the patient who’s now smiling. Finally, the logo and tagline fade up.
Have you seen that commercial? Of course you have. You’ve seen that commercial hundreds of times. And that’s the problem with healthcare marketing today.
Too many people are saying the same thing in the same tired old ways.
For sick patients, this is terribly confusing. Distinguishing from one healthcare system to the next is impossible. True differences in care get lost in a sea of lab coats and “state-of-the-art technologies.” Ultimately, the patient becomes apathetic and the ad loses all impact.
That “safe and simple” commercial you spent a lot of money on just made your job harder.
Today, you need to be bold or you will be ignored. You need to speak to people in human terms, not your health system’s terms. And you need to create work that looks and feels different—because it is different.
So, here are some tips to create effective advertising that stands out from the competition.
1. If you’re doing a rebrand and your agency recommends a brand positioning that sounds something like “People who care about your health,” tell them to push harder. They just described any hospital. Not what makes your hospital unique.
2. Pay attention to ads that grab your attention. Then ask yourself why. What’s the message? Are they screaming their name and four different calls to action? I doubt it. The most effective advertising shows empathy. It makes an emotional connection. Now go and make ads like the ones you admire.
3. You don’t need to show doctors in hospitals. Remember the commercial with the doctor in the hospital? That ad has been done to death. Don’t be that guy.
4. Simplify your message. Then simplify it some more. Distill what you want people to remember into five words or less. The more details you add, the more you subtract from your main message.
5. Find an agency that shares your philosophy. If you want bold work, work with bold people. And never settle.