Go with Emotional Ads? Or Use Some Ads with Almost No Emotion? A Common ‘Look’? Or Several?

February 1, 2014

by Peter Hochstein

Peter HochsteinYou know the drill: Effective hospi­tal advertising campaigns should consist of a single idea and a single graphic treatment to produce results with the sheer power of a concept, preferably emo­tional.

Licensed for 760 beds, Wesley Medical Center in Wichita, KS, has taken a decidedly contrary route.

Faced with an unusual marketing situation, the hospital uses a variety of innovative approaches and looks. All of them, with the exception of one service line, are de­void of emotion. Yet independent research has shown that this method has resulted in a 20 percent to 30 per­cent increase in preference for Wesley across several targeted service lines, according to Bruce Rowley, CEO of RSA Marketing Services, Wesley’s advertising agency.

Here’s a summary of the situation, gleaned from Rowley and from Nick Adams, vice president of mar­keting and public relations at Wesley Medical Center.

There are only two major hospital systems competing for patients in a roughly 100-mile radius from Wichita. Wesley Medical Center is one. The other is Via Christi Health. Other players in Wesley’s market are minor – community hospitals with 40 beds or less and a few physician-owned specialty hospitals. Until a few years ago, Wesley and Via Christi each accepted the insur­ance plans of only one of the two major health insur­ance companies doing business in the area.


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