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Cavemen Need Doctors, Too: How Healthcare Can Take a Lesson From the Insurance Industry.

May 28, 2015
Healthcare Marketing, Risk Taking

Back in the day when I was a much younger creative, I was handed the lousiest assignment of all. One of our old clients, after a long hiatus from advertising, woke up to find that they were no longer top of mind. Actually, they had fallen completely out of mind.

They decided it was once again time to dust off and fire up that old marketing engine. Unfortunately, they were in The Uninspiring Category of Insurance! ((Cue the music. DUN-DUN-DUUUUN!!!)) 

So, needless to say, and without hesitation, the creative directors were more than happy to hand over the keys to my partner and me. “She’s all yours,” they told us.

Breaking the Marketing “Rules”

The assignment, which was to once again create top-of-mind awareness, didn’t come easy. What it did come with was every rule in the book: 

  1. Humor is not for insurance… 
  2. Showing incidents is too scary… 
  3. Creative needs to be direct, these are white-collar decision makers… 
  4. Review their work from the past… 
  5. Include a direction the client would expect. 

What the client didn’t expect was that my partner and I had never worked in this category. And what they got was something just a little different than what they’d ever seen.

To make a long story short, what we sold the client wouldn’t be considered particularly breakthrough in the advertising community. It wasn’t even breakthrough within the agency. However, in the clients’ eyes it was something they had never considered doing.

They were nervous, but loved the work. The campaign wasn’t hard-sell, it definitely didn’t look like their work from the past, and it was a little different for the category. But apparently that was what they were looking to do.

Now, over 15 years later, I still look back and think how that was my tiny brush with what would later become the Insurance Marketing Revolution. A category once shunned by the creative world has now become a creative mecca filled with Cavemen, lizards, Flo and the Mayhem Guy. 

What Healthcare Marketers Can Learn

As a creative director at a hospital marketing agency, I’m intrigued by all the changes taking place over the last few years in the insurance industry’s marketing strategy. The main reason for such a creative revolution is the fact that consumers have taken decision-making into their own hands and these brands need to grab their attention.

It’s here that I see a correlation between insurance and hospitals. With more patients playing an active roll in their healthcare decisions, and pertinent information readily available throughout the Internet, options in care are easily found. Patients have become consumers, searching for their preferred brands. So we healthcare marketers must now differentiate ourselves in this quickly growing, competitive market – just like insurers have.

It’s time to step up our game in getting your brand out there, educating patients on services available to them and leaving them with your hospital top of mind. We need to blaze a trail with our marketing, creating a strong brand image while leading patients to insightful information that positions your hospital as the trustworthy and experienced leader you are.

What are the most interesting ways we can do this? It’s a challenge I eagerly will take. I want Brown Parker & DeMarinis to be the agency that can say that we were the ones who changed the hospital marketing game forever. 

Together with our clients, we will raise volumes by increasing Cavemen appointments to your orthopedic center, Flo’s routine checkups at your women’s center and Mayhem Guy’s visits to your no-wait ER — ASAP! 

Vince DeMarinis

Vince DeMarinis is a Partner and Chief Creative Officer at Brown Parker & DeMarinis Advertising. A graduate of the prestigious Portfolio Center in Atlanta, Vince has spent his career building a strong relationship with an army of creative and strategic leading talent. Focusing on healthcare since the creation of BPD, his creative experience from a wide range of regional and national accounts has earned him numerous awards, including Clios, 2x Addys Best of Show, Mark of Excellence Awards, a profile in Create Magazine and work in Advertising Age, Creativity, Adweek and Healthcare Advertising Review.

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