When Hayward Area Memorial Hospital in Wisconsin hired a new urologist the marketing team gave us a tough, two-fold assignment:
- Craft a campaign that educated and built awareness for the expanded urological services this new specialist would bring to the region.
- Drive audiences to book appointments.
No laughing matter
As we began to research personas for the campaign (which were both male and female 40+) we started to discuss some of the distressing ailments our audiences may be experiencing. We considered the awkwardness of talking openly about symptoms surrounding incontinence, urinary tract infections, enlarged prostates and bladder or prostate cancer. We also talked about how uncomfortable we were talking about these symptoms.
We wondered how we could tactfully and memorably empower our audiences to understand their symptoms and take action to alleviate troublesome issues by making an appointment with the new specialist.
The power of humor
As many people do when discussing a tough subject, we started to use humor to help us tackle our assignment.
According to a study cited in physiology.org, humor can serve as a coping mechanism. It has been reported that people who see the amusing side of problems are more capable of coping with stress.
Just as we ourselves did, we felt treating urological issues lightheartedly would put our personas at ease and make symptoms more normal to bring out into the open.
When nature calls
We started to talk about the euphemisms surrounding the need to use the bathroom, when the perfect concept for this campaign came to mind—“when nature calls.” What made this concept so incredible was:
- Hayward, Wisconsin is a place people live because they enjoy the beauty of the outdoors and participating in a multitude of activities that get them out into their natural surroundings.
- The new specialist was transferring from a larger hospital system to this smaller location so he and his family could enjoy the natural amenities of living in such a beautiful location.
- The line had legs enough for us to use it to describe the difficult symptoms that occur when nature calls, or doesn’t call, or when the call causes pain, etc.
Making “funny” work well
Humor can be tricky to use in a campaign. When we decide to use humor, especially in a health care campaign, we make it a point to always:
- Be on target—our personas and their point in the patient journey are our top priority.
- Keep it simple and concise—what’s funny needs to be apparent right away.
- Invite people to laugh—we want humor to be a welcome relief to our personas.
- Lean into the subject softly—the humor we use can never be obnoxious in any way, shape or form.
We hit the mark
Each element in the campaign drove our male and female audiences to a customized landing page. In the three months it ran, it generated significant site sessions, click throughs, engagement and conversions, which equalled new patients and new appointments.
The greatest measure of success, though, was the way patients reacted to the videos and television ads we created featuring the new specialist.
“I wanted to share that the urology videos and television ads have been very successful. Dr. Tonkin is extremely happy and impressed with what we have done. He is busy and former patients are finding him because they have seen the television ads. New patients are bringing him fishing flies to try. We have made an incredible connection!”
—Cherie Morgan, Marketing/Communications Director at Hayward Area Memorial Hospital and Water’s Edge