Creative Advertising

Hospital Advertising: Creative and Effective Ads are Not the Same

The ultimate goal of our advertising efforts is to provide information that will ultimately lead to more sells.  

The results are in.  It’s the talk of the advertising community.  The most liked spot in this year’s Super Bowl was a spot featuring a little Darth Vader.   You know the spot.  The five-year-old boy who’s dressed like Darth Vader wanders around the house trying to conjure up The Force to help him.  He has no success until he goes outside and calls on The Force to affect his dad’s car.  And to his surprise The Force is finally with him and the car comes to life.  Of course the viewer sees The Force is actually his dad using the car’s remote ignition button.

It’s a great commercial.  It was ranked as the most liked by Nielsen research.  It has created a tremendous viral following having been viewed on YouTube over 10 million times.   And it has been one of the hottest topics on Twitter and Facebook.  What a success!  But was it?

Do you remember the brand of the car?  The model?  Did it impart any information?  Did it sell anything?  Bob Garfield pointed out in an article in Ad Age that the vast majority of the conversation in social media was about the ad but not about the car.  So was it a great commercial for the brand?

David Ogilvy said, “I do not regard advertising as entertainment or an art form, but as a medium of information.  If it doesn’t sell, it’s not creative.” And there has to be some truth to that principle.  What did we learn about the car in the adorable spot?  That it has a remote ignition system?  Now that’s old news in the car industry.  That is hardly an advantage.  What else did the spot tell us?

We have to be careful we don’t make the same mistake in hospital advertising.  We need to communicate information.  Useful information.  Information that heightens the brand.   Selling is not a bad thing.  After all it is what all our advertising and marketing must ultimately accomplish. It’s not enough to be adorable.  We must sell.

The spot most liked in the latest Super Bowl could have been for any product.  Insert any brand you like.  Yes it’s well liked.  It has become a viral success.  But is that really what Volkswagen wanted to accomplish for its Passat?  If the American consumer remembers who the spot was for maybe they will rush out and buy one.  But then again probably not.


Healthcare Marketing: Creative Messages Motivate

With all the changes in the world of advertising, it’s important to remember, creativity is still king.  Creative messages still have impact and motivate consumers. 

The advertising business has changed so much during the past few years.  New media, social media, analytics, ROI, SEO, social marketing, internet marketing, viral marketing, media fragmentation and a host of other terms and phases are the hot topics.  They have each impacted the way we approach advertising and what we emphasize. There are so many things to occupy our attention and demand consideration.

Currently one of the hottest, “hippest” television shows is “Madmen.”  It’s about an ad agency and advertising back in the 60’s.  It is a fascinating show.  It is also quite appalling as it depicts attitudes and stereotypes and behaviors of that day.  But there is one thing that rings very loud and clear in these episodes: the creative is the most important thing.  And while we are all thankful many things have changed from the 60’s this is one thing that shouldn’t.  It’s still about the creative.  Not that other things are not important, they certainly are.  But creativity is the still the big stick.

There are at least 4 reasons why creative is still the heart of the business:

1. Creative is unique.   Lots of people and businesses can do ads but it the idea that separates the great ones from the not so great.   Ads are a commodity but ideas are unique and differentiate your brand.

2. Creative builds affinity with the brand. Great creative establishes a bond between the brand and the consumer.  Consumers are skeptical today and don’t trust marketers.  But great creative helps overcome those obstacles.

3. Creative rallies people. Great creative can be a great motivator.  Remember the anti-litter campaign for the state of Texas…”Don’t Mess With Texas!”  Launched in 1985, it is credited with reducing litter 72% in the state.

4. Creative is beautiful.  Great creative transcends advertising and can become art.  It can inspire, thrill, motivate, and create a sense of wonder.  It can affect a culture.

Advertising has certainly changed but the power of great creative hasn’t.  It endures.

Complete these sentences:

Just __   __!

Got _____?

The chocolate melts ____  ____  ____.

You deserve a _____  _____.

A ______ is forever.

I’d like to teach _____  ______  __  ____.

I can’t believe I ate ___  ______  _____.

Pop, pop, ____  ____.

These are all advertising slogans.  Great creative.  And although some of them are years old, I bet you remember them.  Great creative is like that.  It is the heart of our business.  It transcends everything else.


Healthcare Marketing: Have We Lost Our Marketing Way?

Today’s emphasis on social media, analytics and ROI has taken the place of the “Big Idea.”  And brands are weaker because of it.

When you scan the topics of marketing conventions, examined the titles of webinars that are available everyday and study what marketing subjects are most tweeted, you will find the marketing landscape is covered and dominated by new processes and platforms.   All the talk is about social media, digital platforms, analytics, market segmentation and targeting, lead generation and tracking and ROI.   Where is the discussion about  “big ideas”?  About creativity?  About speaking uniquely to the consumers’ hearts and minds?

Now all of these things are important and create exciting opportunities.  But none of them really matter absent the right, break-through idea.   Where is today’s equivalent of Volkswagen’s “Think Small”, DeBeers’ “Diamonds Are Forever”, “The Absolut Bottle” or Avis’ “We Try Harder?”   Oh there are currently some great campaigns but it seems we have too often substituted creativity for things we can compute and measure.

Brands benefit from savvy marketing tactics and superior media planning but great brands are built with great ideas.  Sure there are some new powerful media platforms but they cannot make a bad idea good.  Or a build a great brand from mediocre concepts. All the best new communication platforms and the analytics that go with them can’t capture the heart and soul of a brand.  Or the critical position in the consumers’ minds.

Maybe our first question should be “what” and not “how”.  An architect conceives a great structure before deciding the tools and materials to use.  An artist has an idea for a subject before deciding on the techniques and colors. And a composer hears a grand symphony in his mind before deciding the instruments to use.   And as marketers, we should have a great concept, a big idea, before deciding where to place it.

New tactics and processes can make us more efficient but great brands they do not make.  Great brands come from breakthrough ideasMarketing should be less about analytics and more about inspiration. Less about measured results and more about creativity.   After all, great brands are created and transformed by big ideas.