Let’s Go Blue: University of Michigan Health System Ad Campaign Hits Powerful Notes

July 26, 2018

Peter Hochstein“Last month, this column dealt with two advertising campaigns that you’d never guess were for hospitals — at least not until the last few seconds when a hospital logo appeared,” says copywriter and Strategic Health Care Marketing contributor Peter Hochstein.

“In recent years, marketing people I’ve interviewed at hospitals and their advertising agencies have more or less said, ‘We didn’t want our campaign to look like typical hospital advertising, with pictures of doctors and equipment.’ And this trend appears to be growing.

Dave Brudon, director of marketing (retired), Michigan Medicine

Dave Brudon, director of marketing (retired), Michigan Medicine

“But it’s also possible to make fresh, emotion-tinged, in fact breakthrough advertising that looks precisely as if it’s hospital advertising, with patients in hospital beds, doctors in scrubs, x-rays of internal organs, patients who’ve lost hair to chemotherapy, injured people learning to walk again, even amputees.

“Such was the case with a University of Michigan Health System advertising campaign that, according to the now-retired director of marketing Dave Brudon, launched in 2003 and lasted about 11 years.

“What made this campaign’s TV spots different and emotion-charged was the music on its soundtracks, juxtaposed over the on-screen images. But the music wasn’t just any music. And it wouldn’t would work for any other hospital system. It’s the University of Michigan Wolverines fight song, but as no Michigander had heard it before — re-orchestrated to replace strident brass and percussion instruments with strings and a xylophone.

“Put all of that together — the medical images, the re-orchestrated music, the lyrics, and perhaps a well-chosen narrative line or two, and you no longer have a typical hospital commercial. Instead, you have, at least in Michigan, an emotional experience,” says Hochstein.

Read the full story now and check out the spots for yourself:

“Expectable” Images Create an Unexpected (and Emotionally Powerful) Hospital Advertising Campaign

Best regards,
Matt Humphrey

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