Hospital-Produced Special Spurs Women to Action

Marianne Aiello, for HealthLeaders Media , May 5, 2010

It's becoming more common for hospitals to work with creative agencies, especially when it comes to producing TV spots. But Baton Rouge (LA) General created a 30-minute special to promote its Women's Center using internal talent and a little help from a local station. The resulting "Time to Survive" campaign won the 544-bed hospital a gold award in the community relations category at the 2009 HealthLeaders Media Marketing Awards.

BRG decided to create the campaign to promote its Women's Center during breast cancer awareness month, but wanted to "transcend the deluge of pink ribbon advertising typically seen," marketers wrote on their submission form. So it purchased an $8,500 package from a local TV station that included a 30-minute special, provided the hospital marketing team dictate the content and direction.

"We brainstormed ideas about producing a true television special that would tell a story, combining the impact and emotion of a cancer survivor, while educating the community on the latest technology and services available here in Baton Rouge to prevent, detect, diagnose, and fight breast cancer," marketers wrote.

After interviewing several survivor candidates, BRG decided to tell the stories of two women, one young and one old, who battled breast cancer. In addition to the special, the hospital also created a 30-second promotional commercial and a 60-second spot for its foundation.

"The stories of these two strong women were truly captivating," one judge wrote. "I can imagine how viewers must have been hooked into the special after the first five minutes, and then driven to action."

And the viewers did, indeed, act. Mammograms increased 91% from the month before. And the campaign microsite received about 4 million hits and was viewed an additional 2,474 times on the local TV station Web site. Another 2,000 clicked banner ads on the microsite.

"The value in capturing the patient experience is timeless, and the supporting medical compassion and expertise balances the equation for marketing," marketers wrote. "We continue to use the footage and interviews from this special for patient information videos, internal training videos, and testimonial excerpts for printed marketing materials."

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