NYU Langone Medical Center

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NYU Langone.

There’s no question the best advertising in NY for a health system or hospital is that of NYU Langone Medical Center. Creators Munn Rabot have been doing quality, no, expert healthcare ad craft for years and years.  The NYU TV ads are the kind that you have to stop and watch. Visually they’re cinematic. Musically they’re awakening. Copy-wise, quite strong.   All of this work, and the work Munn Rabot did for previous client NY Presbyterian, have led the category for years.

One thing they might do better, however, is tighten their brand idea. The line/strategy is “Made in New York.”  This presumes patient care and patients are different in NY. It poses the question “How does healthcare made in NY distinguish itself?”  I get the idea, but offer up the narrative is hard to deliver. They do get points for unique though (in healthcare, that is).  

Most consumers won’t cling to the need for a powerful brand idea served up daily, as I do; they just like the ads. And that should be enough. NYU Langone is back on big map. Well done.



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Purple ads.

langone edit

Growing up in the ad business and knowing how hard it is to do well, I often harp on poorly conceived advertising. Especially that of the print variety.  This adverting is done by a good mid-sized agency in New York City, but either the planner or the creative director doesn’t care because week in and week out the execution – the whole campaign, in fact – is just sad. The hospital likes the ads I’ve heard, so at the agency the only one digging this work must be the CFO.

A great litmus for an ad is the idea.  The idea as played back a day after it has been seen.  This ad is “one of those purple hospital ads.”  “The ones with the one word headline.”

I read this ad stem to stern as I have many of the others in the campaign and still haven’t a clue as to the strategy. Or what the brand stands for.

If you spend enough money, people will see your ads. It you buy the right media people will see your ads. If you don’t have an idea, people will see your ads. They just won’t be able to form an opinion about you – other than you have enough money to advertise. You have a name. And in this case, you like the unique color purple. Peace!

PS. I’m sure the women and men at NYU Langone are terrific and save lots of lives. I applaud you, but it’s time to find a brand and brand idea.  



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If I met you for the first time and asked  “Describe yourself to me” what might your answer be?  If I were to ask a consumer a similar question about Langone Medical Center, what might they say?  “They are the NYU hospital.”  Or that’s the hospital with the purple ads.”  How about this question “Describe for me PNC Bank” or “Describe Volkswagen to me.”

Top recall explanations are telling. They are not deal breakers as it relates to purchase behavior – we buy things and brands we don’t know all the time – but those explanations share what is most important to the consumer at that time.   Two things drive first response associations for consumers: product experience and marketing communications.  Readers know that an organized brand plan has powerful impact on the latter.  If all internal and external dollars are used to support a tight strategy, consumers are able to play back that strategy.  “15 minutes could save you 15% or more on car insurance.”  What reader may not know is that a tight brand strategy also impacts the product, offering ways forward for new features, line extensions, aftercare, etc.

The opposite of a tight, embedded brand strategy is every man for himself. And when that happens you become the company with the purple ads or the company that has banking on the mobile phone. Don’t allow that to happen. Peace!

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I like the Effies.  Effie Awards are given out for, ta-dah, effective advertising and marketing programs.  I also like the Direct Marketing Associations Echo Awards — a show that awards those who quantify sales results. Cannes and the One Show are at the high end of the spectrum, with the Tellys at the other, in a long array of other hardware shows that tend to be more fashion than anything else.  I love art and creativity, please don’t get me wrong, but prefer sales with my marketing.

The Effies are like the sports in a way, in that people are rewarded when score is kept. Did the work generate value, sales, and market share?  And how much?  To the winners go the spoils.

I am often reminded of keeping score when I see “We’re here” advertising,” work that simply tells consumers what one does.  We’re here advertising is lazy and a blight.  A print ad today by the very reputable NYU Langone Medical Center proclaims through a one word headline “Whole.” Beneath this is the delicate, italicized and parenthetic word “hearted.”  The picture is of a physician holding a baby. Two sentences of copy mention the hospital does pediatric and adult cases, the doctors are accomplished and work for one of the nation’s top heart programs.  We’re here!   With nothing to say, they favor the say very little approach to readership.

What in the name of Einstein, is the measure of success here? Off to the Tellys. Peace!

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When in a fun mood, I like to speak in a dialect called angry Korean grocer, something picked up on Saturday Night Live skit. Silly I know, but it makes my wife laugh. The title of this post is not in that dialect though, it is an assemblage of 5 headlines from NYU Langone Medical Center’s latest ad campaign (the comma is mine). Each one-word headline sits atop an expensive testimonial picture and one sentence story, followed by a little sell, e.g., Scott Abrams, injured in the line of duty, walked out of our hospital, when he couldn’t walk in.”

The campaign, for a reason unbeknownst to the reader is entitled “Any Given Moment.” Developed by Arnold NY, an agency that should know better, it is “we’re here” advertising at its worst. Lots of hospitals have taken to the papers and airwaves with new campaigns this season, but this one is pretty much idealess. Hospitals are notorious for creating badvertising, often filled with miraculous survivor stories, yet the category has been getting better. “NYU and AR-nold suffer setback. Hope they overcome.”

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