Emotional vs. Rational Health Care Advertising—With a Nod to a 1960s Hit Song

July 28, 2016
Peter Hochstein

Peter Hochstein

Peter Hochstein, our crackerjack marketing writer, likes to interview hospital marketing departments and their advertising agencies for his column. “And I often ask them identical questions. I justify this with an analogy concerning two people viewing an elephant from opposite ends,” he notes.

“One party tells you the animal’s most notable feature is a skinny tail. The other party goes on about the long trunk that snorts air and grasps objects. By listening to both parties, you can get a more complete notion of the elephant than if you interviewed only one of the parties.”

West Georgia HealthJust this sort of contrast in viewpoints emerged from interviews with Rob Rosenberg, President of a Chicago-area advertising agency called Springboard Brand & Creative Strategy, and with one of his clients, Jan Nichols, Marketing Director of West Georgia Health System in LaGrange, Georgia (WGH).

(Note: By the time you read this, WGH will have been acquired by WellStar Health System.)

The interviews had to do with an advertising campaign that agency and client both agree has been highly successful in strengthening positive perceptions of WGH and in building substantial traffic for specific service lines. But while Rosenberg insists the campaign, at least its broadcast branding ads, are emotional, Nichols says of the same campaign, “We did not go the storytelling emotional route. We were more straightforward because we wanted to portray the facts … because we really wanted to demonstrate the quality we had achieved.”

How can two people intimately involved with the same campaign view it so differently? What accounts for the campaign’s striking success, resulting in big volume increases for oncology and bariatric surgery? And what key role was played by The Turtles’ 1967 hit “Happy Together”?

For all the answers, read our full article now: An Elephant, The Turtles, Emotional vs. Rational Advertising—and a Hospital Marketing Success Story in Georgia.

Best regards,
Matt Humphrey

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