Tuesday, December 31, 2013

The Top 10 Hospital Commercials of 2013

I look forward to these end-of-year lists, but I have to be honest—this year they were tough.  If anything, I think we are moving toward using zombie healthcare marketing words and messaging even more, instead of toward fresh, innovative storytelling. Healthcare marketing doesn’t need to stick to the bland messages of state-of-the-art, multidisciplinary, cutting-edge, advanced technology. Talk about people. Tell stories. Breathe hope into your customers’ lives and minds.

The commercials we selected are fresh and different and affect the watcher. We used the same criteria this year as we did in last year’s The Top 10 Hospital Commercials of 2012:  no sea of sameness, personalized, humor (if we could find it) and quality.

10. Total Joint Replacement at Springfield Hospital: Joint replacement surgery isn’t fun. Why not focus on the amenities hospitals provide? In these fun, short spots, the focus is on the private rooms and yummy food they prepare for joint replacement patients. 


9. Mary Free Bed: In this fun, holiday :30 spot, Santa’s elves use joint replacement technology to get their old joints ready for their busy holiday season. A memorable way to weave the “advanced technology” message into a visually rich commercial. 

8. Children’s Hospital of Richmond: In this fun spot, a nurse and a pediatric cancer patient mimic each other’s activities. A feel-good commercial that focuses on care in a tough situation.

7. Canton Potsdam: In this “Sentences” commercial, different professionals finish each other’s sentences, and ask the question, “Is your primary care professional as dedicated as you are?” A fresh look at primary care, this :30 spot sends the message about their doctors for fewer than five seconds. Instead, people are at the center—messaging that they are the focus at this hospital.

6. Martin Health System: Showing a young girl in a bathing suit then jumping into the outstretched arms of her grandmother, this :15 spot asserts, “When a hospital understands the value of trust, it’s better.” A great visual illustrates the most critical message in healthcare today: trust.

5. North Fulton Hospital: In this :30 spot, we see the entire message from the point of view of the surgeon. But the commercial spins itself on its head, making the focus the patient, NOT the surgeon. A remarkable way to play with some of those zombie healthcare marketing words and make a message stick.

4. Memorial: “Now I  Know”, a :30 spot, does a great job of selling a ubiquitous and sometimes boring idea—that ER wait times are faster than most, by showing neighbors hanging up signs about the hospital on their garages and lawns. The voiceover even manages to sneak in the U.S.News & World Report rankings, and reminds the watcher that “your neighbors know”—giving it a double dose of authority.


3. BC Children’s Hospital: A play on an Alice and Wonderland theme, this :30 spot demonstrates that the hospital needs more space by showing a nurse who needs to bend over to remove a crying child from her crib. Effective without being heavy handed, the commercial ends with asking you to give so they can build a bigger hospital.


2. The Cleveland Clinic: “If We Could See Inside Other’s Hearts”: While this did not air as a commercial (as far as I know), I would be remiss not to mention this amazing four-minute video from the Cleveland Clinic that went viral. Reminding us not to judge another until we step inside his or her shoes, it does the most coveted thing we try to do with messaging—connects us to others and reminds us there is so much we don’t see.


1. Bakersfield Heart Hospital: In this charming :30 spot, red paper hearts rain down on a variety of people involved in everyday activities. The voiceover is conversational and centers on the award-winning cardiovascular care this community hospital provides. A clear, articulate message delivered with an innovative visual.

I can’t wait to create this list next year, with a large pool of exciting, new commercials that communicate what healthcare should be about: people, stories, excellence and hope. Blow me away with your commitment to producing commercials that stand out of the sea of sameness and make me believe in your institution.


  1. I must say that I admire your determination to find "The Best Hospital Commercials for 2013" which is a category that is characterized as having very bad work traditionally, perhaps even worse than the pharma work that is presently out. It is certainly one of the hardest categories I have ever worked in as most of your viewers are healthy and actively avoid seeing hospital commercials of any kind. I do enjoy the challenge but it is getting harder with every passing day.

  2. Yes, I think hospital commercials are challenging. But we must battle on, brave souls. People need to know that there is medicine out there that can truly change their health.

  3. A telemetry nurse resume must be able to interpret monitors and record critical data relating to a patient’s vital signs and general condition. Telemetry nurses are trained in the use of various types of technology to monitor patients’ blood pressure, breathing patterns, blood oxygen, saturation levels, and heart activity, among other things.