Most hospital TV commercials fall into 1 of 3 categories:
- The grateful patient testimonial
- Technology, technology, technology!
- This patient is back to life and living because of our Hospital
Most CEOs and board of directors love the first two categories. (Especially number two – I guess if I greenlighted millions of dollars for CT scanners and da Vinci equipment, I’d want it on TV, too.)
If your hospital is known as a leader, technology (and its sister, “expertise”) is a winner because it validates what people already believe about your brand.
And, if your hospital is not a leader, technology commercials can also help get your brand into that leadership space. But make sure to connect the patient benefit with the technology claims, otherwise your consumers won’t care. (“This machine makes smaller incisions, less hospital stays, faster recovery times,” etc.)
Many consumers love categories 1 and 3 because they are the benefit-driven – people can “see” themselves in the patient’s shoes.
But if you’re a hospital with low credibility, grateful patients and showing people back to life and living are dangerous because consumers are skeptical of those claims. As I hear in focus groups all the time, “Sure, they found one person who had a good experience.”
There is a fourth category of hospital TV commercials, but it’s the category that the fewest hospitals use. Category 4 is not for the faint of heart. It’s the type of TV commercial that makes your consumer sit up and take notice. It reaches an emotional place and it’s unforgettable.
Most hospitals don’t do category four commercials. They’re too risky. They might offend physicians because they are rarely featured in these types of commercials. Category 4 commercials often upset board members because they don’t show fancy new technology. But category 4 TV commercials work every time.
It’s unfortunate more hospitals don’t ask their agencies to bring them category four thinking. It’s what quickens the pulse and moves the needle every time.
We’ve had a lot of readers reply, “So…show me examples of Fourth Category advertising.”
In healthcare, GE has done Fourth Category work for years. Their current campaign is a perfect example of going to the next level — the place where goosebumps are made and brands are immortalized.
We just completed a video for our client, Martin Memorial, which will premier on their YouTube channel. We were lucky to have the chance to execute a simple idea — showcasing how amazing our hearts are, and what we can do to keep them beating healthy for years to come. The title is “A Heartbeat Away” and features music by Moby. (Moby is a gracious gentleman who offers non-profits the chance to use his music to communicate positive change. Read more here.)