Konold says he noticed the effects of the recession on the entries as well. "To me, this year's competition was not nearly as creatively competitive as it was last year," he says. "Does the economic downturn cause clients and agencies to fall back to the more tried and true approaches? I hope not."
I was delighted with the overall quality of the entries in this year's campaign," says Don Dalton, vice president of public relations at the North Carolina Hospital Association, a state trade association that represents 135 hospitals and health networks. "The entries were all winners, making it very challenging to pick the truly exceptional."
Scoping out what's next
Among the entries, Dalton says, he noticed some emerging trends.
"I'd say patient testimonials are hot," he says. "I'm also seeing more small market hospitals willing to suffer the waste of advertising on bigger market TV stations to reach their audiences, again with image messages."
But in his region, hospitals seem to be heading in a new direction, he says. "I'm seeing more broad-based image campaigns [in North Carolina] than in previous years. They seem simple but refreshing in comparison to the sophisticated campaigns that have dominated during the past decade."
Buckley adds that he hopes to see hospitals and other healthcare organizations collaborate more in 2010.
"There has to be much more emphasis on building relationships in the communities that hospitals serve . . . working in and with their communities and collaborating with other healthcare providers and with community organizations to improve the health status of their area population," he says. "These efforts do not happen overnight, but when they come to fruition, the impact is much more powerful, long-lasting, and economic than independent advertising initiatives."