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If you’re in the healthcare advertising field, you’re used to swimming upstream. You work in a highly regulated environment with strict barriers constantly telling you “NO.”
Navigating those barriers can seem like trying to follow highway detour signs through a city full of one-way streets. One wrong turn will put you in a precarious situation.
Having so many restrictions can put a damper on your creativity, forcing you to, in the end, throw your hands up in exasperation, approve a mediocre ad strategy, and call it a day.
Well, I’m here to tell you, “Yes.”
Yes, you can navigate FDA rules while still having a robust healthcare advertising strategy.
Yes, you can be creative with healthcare ads.
Yes, you can deliver meaningful, impactful messages that a legal review team would pass with flying colors.
Below you’ll find 10 of the most creative, clever healthcare advertising campaigns that healthcare providers and nonprofits have created in the past few years. On top of that, I’ll also tell you how to make each strategy your own so you can have the same type of success.
Want to learn more about healthcare marketing and advertising? You may be interested in:
- 10 Healthcare Marketing Strategy Tips
- How to Increase Healthcare Leads with Inbound Marketing
- 12 Traits the Best Medical Websites Have in Common
- How to Get Your Medical Practice to the Top of Google
- Urgent Care Marketing Strategies Every Center Should Be Using
10 Creative Healthcare Advertising Campaigns that Hit the Mark
Below you’ll find 10 examples of the most creative healthcare advertising campaigns.
1. Cochlear: “Does Love Last Forever? A Hearing Test in Disguise”
Cochlear’s “Does Love Last Forever” ad tricked viewers into taking a hearing test—and won dozens of healthcare advertising awards for it.
They showed this video ad to Australian moviegoers before the main film. Based on the viewer’s hearing ability, the outcome of the story changed. What is, in reality, a heartfelt story about love lasting through the ages flips into a sad story about love that withered over the years—if you’re hearing impaired.
The tagline is “If you felt love was lost, you may be missing important moments in your life.”
Straight, to the point, and experiential. It connects with consumers on a deep, personal level, and they are enabled to make health decisions based on that one ad. Perfect.
Make It Your Own:
A modern healthcare advertising strategy should focus on enabling a consumer to either make better decisions about healthcare or enable them to actually receive healthcare. If your strategy doesn’t do either, go back to the drawing board.
2. National Jewish Health: “We Never Say Never®”
Testimonials are powerful drivers of new patients to any practice. Almost 72% of patients use online reviews as their first step in finding a new doctor, and 88% trust online reviews as much as a personal recommendation. Not only that, but enough, 48% of patients would go out of their insurance network for a doctor with great reviews.
Enter testimonial ads. Testimonial ads are exactly what they sound like: healthcare advertisements that feature a testimonial.
National Jewish Health turned a testimonial ad into a storytelling experience. Their “Never Say Never” campaign took patient stories and amplified the creativity level. It has gorgeous, eye-catching imagery, a to-the-point tagline, and inspires as well as informs.
Make It Your Own:
Tell your patient’s stories as creatively as possible. Show how you helped. Let their story inspire others to want the same experience. With the right image, the right wording, and the right ad composition, you can say a lot with a little.
3. Oscar Healthcare
Oscar nailed this ad.
It uses bright colors, funny, engaging imagery, and a tagline that everybody gets.
It’s a simple message that means a lot—in this one creative, they infer:
- Trust – You can trust Oscar to have your best interest in mind. Since you like your phone, they put their doctors there.
- Convenience – Trusting your healthcare to Oscar is convenient. Since you like their phone, they made their doctors available via phone.
- Technological capabilities – This isn’t your grandma’s healthcare. Oscar is forward-thinking and has jumped on board with the digital healthcare revolution. Since you like your phone, Oscar made sure their doctors were available on the device you love to use.
- Relatability – This ad is fun, modern, and not-too-serious, just like the modern healthcare consumer. By speaking their language and using relatable imagery, Oscar nails the whole “healthcare for the next generation” thing.
4. Banner Health Infographics
Everything about Banner Health’s infographic campaign is a success.
What makes infographics so great is their ability to capture and retain reader attention using powerful imagery. They are able to break down complex concepts into digestible bites that people will remember—when people hear information, they’re likely to remember only 10% of that information three days later. However, if a relevant image is paired with that same information, people retained 65% of the information three days later. Not only that, but Hubspot found that infographics are shared 3x more than any other visual content on social media.
Make It Your Own:
To get the best results from your infographics:
- Use bright colors – Use bold, powerful colors to attract attention, but don’t get too crazy. While a colorful infographic is a best practice, having too many colors can create sensory overload and discourage users from engaging with the piece.
- Limit your text – The whole purpose of infographics is to limit boring text and communicate ideas through imagery. Use simplified language and easy-to-read fonts and sizes to communicate all facts and statistics.
- Choose creative imagery that tells a story – Images are a quick and easy way to grab initial attention—they’re easy to process and will instantly tell users what your infographic is about. Your piece should feel like one unified design that tells a story, so all elements should be of a similar theme.
5. Froedtert Health
The average person sees thousands of advertisements a day, and most of us have developed a good filter for them. Rare is it that an ad will catch your attention, and those that do are the ones that will succeed. Take this ad from Froedtert. It’s an optical illusion and one that makes you do a double-take.
Make It Your Own: What kind of interesting imagery can you create from your field of medicine? Change your perspective (or even your angle) and you might get a whole new view.
6. ZocDoc: “Unsick Day”
ZocDoc’s Unsick Day was a creative healthcare ad campaign that broke the mold without really breaking the mold.
Everybody understands sick days at work. ZocDoc took this concept and flipped it on its head by attacking the cause of sick days—not enough preventative care. Thus, “Unsick Days” was born.
Make It Your Own:
Go against the grain by flipping a result of a medical issue you treat on its head to fight the cause of the condition.
This ad example from Amwell is the definition of good, simplistic medical advertising. Without any words, it tells a story: The mother of a sick child needs medical advice, but doesn’t want to leave her child’s bedside. Amwell comes to the rescue with a virtual doctor’s visit, and they lived happily ever after.
With just an image, Amwell communicates three key messages to sway patients:
- Convenience – 78% of consumers say they would receive virtual health services. The ad clearly communicates that you don’t even have to leave your child’s bedside to speak face-to-face with a doctor. Since convenience is one of the most important qualities patients look for in a doctor or healthcare provider, this is a box you need to check in any and every ad campaign.
- Trust – The woman on the phone is clearly displayed as a trustworthy doctor. She’s mid-sentence, implying she’s in the middle of telling this parent how to make their child feel better. It also subliminally nudges you toward the thought, “If this parent trusts their child to this doctor, I can, too.”
- Care – This ad implies that Amwell cares about their patients. They care so much that they don’t want you to leave your child’s side, even for a minute. Any parent who’s had a sick kid appreciates that kind of consideration.
Make It Your Own:
You don’t need words on your ads to tell a story. The makeup, composition, and imagery you choose can do that for you. Be sure you’re incorporating as much story-telling as you can in each and every ad creative.
8. MACMA: “Man Boobs for Boobs”
Every so often you’ll find barriers to your healthcare advertising strategy. For example, social media platforms like Facebook didn’t allow videos or images of breast exams because of—gasp—the nipple. This proved a problem for breast cancer nonprofits and causes wanting to build awareness while creating real-life ads.
To get around this, digital agency David Buenos Aires created a stick-it-to-the-man video for Argentina’s Movimiento Ayuda Cáncer de Mama (Macma, also known as the Breast Cancer Awareness Movement in English) that substituted women’s breasts with men’s.
The ad went viral in hundreds of countries and was one of the most successful healthcare advertising campaigns in recent memory. It was funny, it was real, and it went around the restrictions to provide helpful humorous content.
Make It Your Own:
Have a restriction? Think like a rebel. Every teenager alive knows how to get around the rules while still obeying them—you can, too. Just tap into your inner wild child.
9. Hartford Healthcare GoHealth Urgent Care
Hartford Healthcare did a great job cramming a lot into a short time. It conveyed real-life urgent care scenarios people would find themselves in, featured their digitally-forward, convenient approach to booking urgent care appointments (a big pain point for many patients), and built trust in the center—all in under 30 seconds.
Convenience and trust are extremely high on any modern patient’s “want” list for any medical facility. When you’re creating healthcare advertisements, highlight the ways you make life more convenient for a patient. Show footage of someone actually using your website or app. Show how long it takes for someone to be seen. Find your “convenience leverage” and lean in.
10. John Muir Health
Human bodies are weird. They’re weird and they’re gross.
Despite the fact that every single member of humanity has known this since we evolved, it’s always been taboo to talk about unpleasant bodily functions.
Millennials (and the more daring members of Gen-Z) did a big poo-poo on that tradition.
It’s refreshing to see in public what you’ve been wondering about in private—even though many Americans are “liberated” from body shame, it’s still embarrassing to pee when you sneeze and get poison oak in your nether regions. They’re real problems that real people have on a daily basis.
What’s one of the best ways to cure embarrassing situations? A sense of humor.
John Muir captured this with their ads. They gave you the real, the unexpected, the humorous, and the need-to-know. It’s in-your-face reality, which is historically missing in medical advertisements of the past.
Make It Your Own: Don’t be afraid to lean into the gritty, embarrassing parts of your medical practice. Being upfront and honest can break the ice and create a sense of inclusion. Hey, that’s why Dr. Pimple-Popper is so famous.
Need Help With Your Healthcare Advertising Campaigns? We Got this.
Advertising in the healthcare industry is tricky, which is why you may need help from a healthcare advertising agency that does this all day, every day. Blue Corona is a healthcare advertising company with extensive experience helping doctors, urgent care centers, hospitals, and other treatment facilities cost-effectively (and compliantly) market their companies on the web, and we can do the same for yours, too.
Whether you’re looking to fine-tune your existing medical advertising campaigns or you’re starting from scratch and need a complete run-down of the whole shebang, our specialists are ready to help. Contact us now to get started!
About The Author: Betsy is Blue Corona's in-house Digital Marketing Specialist. When she’s not directing Blue Corona's corporate digital content campaigns she’s urban exploring with her wife, diving into the latest marketing trends, or teaching horseback riding lessons. Twitter: @educatedbets
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