No One Likes Healthcare Advertising. But They Could.

As published in PM360

Healthcare advertising rarely demonstrates that it knows how to reward customers for their time, or shows what a smart creative idea can do. We need a better approach. Making memorable creative isn’t easy but it is possible in healthcare. There are just certain must haves.

The first must have is obviously a talent for creative. Creative talent is the love child of imagination and a sense of humor. It looks at problems from unusual angles. That’s why a smart idea seems so fresh: It is liter-ally “not the usual.”

You can raise this talent for unexpected solutions by studying how others have discovered theirs. For inspiration I always recommend the annuals of Communication Arts and The One Show and the timeless early work of agencies like DDB and Grace Rothchild.

The next must have is a “must do”: You must get over the idea that you’re here to entertain the viewer or reader. No, you’re here to show folks that you know what they’re going through, that you feel their pain. That’s empathy, and nothing builds trust quicker. Empathy lowers defenses and persuades a customer to believe in you and what you’re offering.

Countless healthcare commercials and social media ads seem to not understand this, and keep clobbering us with solutions that miss the mark by being too clever, over-produced or just not saying the simple, honest things we want to hear.