Do healthcare ads really need to make doctors smile?

By Jenny Orr on April 7th, 2009

OK, there will always be a place to show a happy doctor, nurse, or administrator. A smiling face is engaging – especially when all the doctors and nurses are in their mid-twenties and look like they stepped right off the set of ER. But let’s face it, if you’re flipping through a medical journal seeing medical image after medical image, what is going to really get your attention? Healthcare advertising needs to take a creative pill. There ARE ways to make healthcare advertising visually interesting.

There are lots of tricks to coming up with creative concepts, but first, the absolute most important thing is to start with the best single-minded proposition that your client and internal team can muster up, and if it it is truly a unique selling point you’re in luck. Sometimes it’s simply focusing on one benefit and taking everything else out of the picture. Sometimes, I highlight one word in a creative brief and focus on that one word. Sometimes I take the opposite of that word to communicate a message. Sometimes I start with the visual, sometimes the headline, but the greatest challenge is making sure each is equally as strong as the other. If you’ve got a kick-ass headline, you probably don’t even need a visual! And my favorite ads are pictures that tell the story – no headline needed. (These are hard to come by.)And, lastly, if you’ve exhausted all methods and are forced to use ANOTHER happy doctor, at least try to portray an honest/believable brand by not using cheap stock images that have been used a million times in the same space. A photo shoot or even a quality stock image is well worth the investment.OK, I’ll get off my soap box now.