Listen To Your Heart

Kandace McLaughlin, for HealthLeaders Media , February 27, 2008
Though most consumers are bombarded with advertising messages every day, there's one advertising image that is getting them to listen. A service line campaign from WakeMed Health & Hospitals in Raleigh, NC, has taken a different approach to speaking with consumers. Instead of using doctors or other medical professionals, the campaign is using an object that each and every patient is close to--their heart.

WakeMed is located in a very competitive healthcare market and needed a way to differentiate itself from the heavy marketing messages of the competitors. With their agency Craig Jackson & Partners in Chapel Hill, NC, and some feedback from their employees, the 'Listen to your heart' campaign with 'Heart Guy', was born.

The campaign primarily focused its efforts in TV and radio, though there were some tries at print and outdoor as well. The TV images show an animated heart with a sort of New Yorker voice and charm, according to Deb Laughery, vice president of public relations for WakeMed.

The spots start out with Heart Guy calling out to the consumers by asking if he can have a heart-to-heart with them. It goes on to tell them the risks of not listening to your heart and follows with a call to action for WakeMed. What makes the campaign so effective is that the campaign message is clear, and the mannerisms and speech from the heart are attention-grabbing and direct--in a very non-threatening sort of way.

"We wanted him to come across in a way that would be a little bit different and that would get attention. He's a more human, lighthearted way of presenting a very serious subject," Laughery says.

The campaign was effective in growing market share but most importantly it opened up doors for future endeavors. "Because the concept is so different it has a lot of legs and we will definitely expand on it," says Laughery. "We actually have already started a new concept. Heart Guy now has a friend, the brain, who is going to talk to consumers about reducing the risk of stroke."

Kandace McLaughlin is an editor with HealthLeaders magazine. Send her Campaign Spotlight ideas at If you are a marketer submitting a campaign on behalf of your facility or client, please ensure you have permission before doing so.




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