On Humorous Health Care Advertising, Media Planning, Conservative Doctors, Cold Feet—and Possibly a Few Rueful Afterthoughts
// By Peter Hochstein //
This story is a departure from what you usually find in this space.
It’s about television advertising for the services of a single practitioner, not a group practice or hospital. It’s also about a rare occurrence—real knee-slapping humor in a spot supporting treatment for a medical “condition.” Well, maybe not quite a medical condition, but it falls under the purview of physicians just the same.
And out of consideration for the doctor, who seems to feel embarrassed about this spot—although there’s no rational reason he should—I’m not going to mention his name, or the city where he practices, nor will I link to the spot that displays his name. I suppose some readers with the soul of Inspector Javert could learn the doctor’s identity. But I won’t help you with that. It’s the advertising that’s of interest here, not the doctor’s name.
Oh, and a few more things. The spot won several creative awards. The agency that created it is proud of the work. And this case may have something to tell marketers about when humor is, or at least can be, appropriate to health care advertising. But it also illustrates why it pays to be careful if your commercial produces laughs.
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