The University of Kansas Hospital Builds a Strong Reputation While Avoiding ‘Image-y’ Ads

September 1, 2013

by Peter Hochstein

Peter HochsteinIn recent months, this column has discussed several hospital adver­tising campaigns whose creators would sooner impale themselves on a scalpel than show a piece of medical equipment or a doctor wearing scrubs or a white coat.

A typical defense of their position is that one advertis­ing campaign featuring doctors and equipment looks pretty much like another. Many of the campaigns in­stead showed something else, from a cyclist riding off into a lyrical landscape, to cured patients recounting their touching stories. Ads like those have had enor­mous emotional power and often get excellent results.

But that’s not to say that it is impossible to get out­standing results by hewing to rather more traditional advertising values, such as focusing on the “product” and presenting a unique selling proposition, most especially if what’s unique is the hospital’s superiority when it comes to helping very sick patients get well.

Such is the case with a long-running advertising cam­paign for the University of Kansas Hospital, which shows and speaks directly to the “product” it is selling – the power of its technology and skilled people. The hospital is a big and busy one, with more than 28,000 inpatient discharges and over 530,000 outpatient visits in 2012.


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