One of the foibles common in advertising is lack of adherence to brand strategy; more specifically to brand strategy claim. A claim is only as good as its proof — and ads today are often bereft of proof. Here’s an example torn from the pages of The New York Times. It has been a while since I priced a page in The Times but it wouldn’t be misleading to say the ad cost north of $75.
New York Presbyterian’s claim is “Amazing Things Are Happening Here.” It’s a wonderful and powerful brand idea developed by Munn Rabot. (They no longer do NYP’s ads.) In an ad celebrating National Doctors Day the headline is the above stated claim. Here is the copy. (See if you can find any proof.)
Every day, our doctors combine knowledge, curiosity, intuition and compassion in amazing ways.
They change patients’ lives. They advance the frontiers of medicine. And they ready the next generation of physicians to do the same.
On behalf of our patients, families, and everyone else whose lives you touch, thank you.
Advertising has two jobs. Accomplish the tactical objective which in this case is thank the docs. And second, advance the brand strategy “amazing things.” This is another example of all claim, no proof.
Poor ad craft. Poorer brand craft. Peace.
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The headline above is the tagline for the extraordinary Brigham and Women’s Hospital, or so it appears on advertising and the website. It reflects a tripartite brand strategy. Maybe 4-partite if you define “giving” two ways. Most hospitals don’t really get branding. They understand the need to fill beds, increase revenue and improve reputation, but don’t really know how. So they establish a marketing board, fill it with retirees who once worked at Clairol, and raise money for an ad campaign. Someone at the new ad agency writes a poor brief and a lazy ad pops out about the latest treatment, a survivor story or an award. All tied up in a tidy little tagline like Life. Giving. Breakthroughs.
Taglines are claims. Claims that meet at the intersection of what a brand is great at and what consumers want. If you take the periods away from the Brigham and Women’s tagline the strategy is about breakthroughs. Not a bad place to be if you can prove it. New York Presbyterian’s line “Amazing things are happening here” does a better job of making this claim from a poetic sense. But again, the strategy only works when you prove it by sharing amazing things.
Healthcare, which makes up 18% of the GDP, is the consumer category that needs brand strategy the most yet employs it the least. Here’s a tagline and brand strategy that work. Tell me if you know the brand. “The best cancer care anywhere.”
Tags: amazing things are happening here, Brigham and Women’s Hospital, Brigham and Women’s Hospital brand strategy, health care brand strategy, Health care strategy, healthcare brand strategy, healthcare strategy, new york-presbyterian, whats the idea, whatstheidea
One of the brand planks of the North Shore-LIJ Health System was “leading edge treatments and technology.” Unfortunately, this is a plank most every hospital in the country uses when developing advertising. It was only when paired with North Shore’s two other planks, that the true brand story emerged.
One of North Shore’s competitors in New York is NewYork-Presbyterian. Today, NY-Pres broke a “leading edge treatments and technology” ad that beats most hands down. If you don’t ask your doctor about NY-Pres after reading this ad, you are not paying attention. The campaign idea, by the way, is “Amazing things are happening here.”
The Deathstalker Scorpion’s venon contains chlorotoxin, which some crazy health geek found attaches itself to “specific brain cancer cells.” The docs and researcher at NY-Pres are trying to find ways to make chlorotoxin deliver radioactive atoms to cancer cells in the brain. Wow! That’s some serious.
I’m not sure if Munn Rabot is still doing this advertising work, but it sure feels like them. It’s excellent storytelling and excellent work.
Okay, you are sick and have to pick a hospital. Any come to mind?