"We knew that people don't only seek bariatric surgery to lose weight, it's just as important that they get healthy," says Maria Stearns, healthcare team director for creative agency ab+c, which worked with MFSMC on the effort.
"So we wanted to connect the campaign that it's not just your dress size that's important, what's important is that your cholesterol is lower, your blood pressure is lower, your blood sugar is healthy. These numbers are just as important as your weight or size."
Uniqueness of a bariatric campaign
When creating the campaign, marketers kept in mind that bariatric patients often have a number of other health problems in addition to, and as a result of, their weight. Unlike other service line patients, bariatric patients are often dealing with diabetes, high cholesterol, sleep problems, and mobility difficulties.
Taking this into consideration, marketers decided campaign elements should include print, radio, web display ads, and web paid search, targeting obese adults over age 45 in the Baltimore market. Adams and her team also determined that the ads' call to action would be to register for an information session, which would introduce potential patients to the program.
The call to action resulted in many inquiries.
"Once we knew they were interested, they received a follow-up letter [and] they were invited to other programs that covered topics related to diet and nutrition," Adams says. "Some were scheduled to have a private consultation with the surgeons. We also had a good number of physician referrals as a result of the campaign."