A few of our favorite healthcare ads

President Obama, manhole covers, and Breaking Bad made the cut

As healthcare marketing specialists, we tend to over scrutinize every healthcare marketing campaign we see. Over the past 12 months or so, we’ve come across quite a few healthcare-related ads that made us laugh, do a double-take or tugged at our heartstrings. We came up with a top-five list we thought you might enjoy.

Here they are:

1. Things Everybody Does But Doesn’t Talk About

Who doesn’t love an ad campaign that features the president of the United States in a very un-presidential moment? At the start of 2015, President Barack Obama teamed up with BuzzFeed Motion Pictures and created a video to reach out to millennials about healthcare coverage. 

healthcare top ads post obama image

The video titled,“Things Everybody Does But Doesn’t Talk About,” stars President Obama and an average American (millennial) doing things people do when no-one is around. The video promotes healthcare.org by shooting clips of President Obama rehearsing a speech about the enrollment deadline — in front of a mirror. According to AdWeek , within the first eight hours, the Facebook video was viewed more than 10 millions times. How about that for social media marketing?

Company: BuzzFeed

Campaign: healthcare.org awareness video

2. Help with the Hard Part

Weight Watchers launched its “Help with the Hard Part” campaign in January 2015 and really got into the emotional barriers of maintaining a healthy body weight. They took a sensitive issue that affects a great deal of Americans and dealt with it in a humorous way, without mocking people who have struggled with their weight. The tag “Help with the Hard Part” simultaneously talks about the benefits of their product while acknowledging just how difficult it is to lose weight.

The decision to use Aaron Paul (aka Jesse from Breaking Bad) as the slick, drug-dealing voiceover for the “All you Can Eat”  TV spot is brilliant and gives extra layers of meaning and punch to the copy, which could easily be about hard drugs instead of fast food.  Powerful work. 

Agency: Wieden + Kennedy

Campaign: Help with the Hard Part campaign

3. Get your manhole inspected

Why men should get their colon screened isn’t the most approachable subject, but an important one nonetheless. For this non-branded public service campaign, healthcare advertising agency HCB Health blanketed downtown Austin, Texas with magnetic manhole covers that read, “This Father’s Day remember: get your manhole inspected.”  Most healthcare organizations wouldn’t dare to push the envelope with this sensitive topic, but we love that this community outreach campaign was approved and produced.

healthcare ads manhole image

Additionally, the “Father’s Day Colon Cancer Awareness Campaign” offers some sobering statistics: The American Cancer Society estimates 50,000 men will die from colon cancer, but 80% of those deaths are preventable through routine screening. The problem is that many men are squeamish about the procedure. The goal was to change that attitude and build awareness to save lives.

Agency: HCB Health

Campaign: Father’s Day colon cancer awareness campaign

4. Keeping you, you

Healthcare marketing isn’t brain surgery, but when you can make an ad for brain surgery and cancer treatment as positive and engaging as this TV spot from Wongdoody, it seems deceptively simple. An interesting patient, life-threatening brain cancer and a jog to the hospital (plus a great outcome) make this feel good story a winner. If I needed neurosurgery, I’d consider Cedars-Sinai. 

Agency: Wongdoody

Campaign: Neurology Campaign

5. Fresh Care, Delivered Daily

Smith & Jones rolled out a lot of strategic and creative campaigns in 2015, but the CMH rebranding campaign was among our favorites. To appeal to the local, rural audience, the metropolitan weekenders and commuters, we created a brand promise that only CMH could deliver “fresh care, delivered daily.”  The launch of Columbia Memorial Health’s award-winning brand helped kick start internal alignment and generated the largest increase in outpatient revenue in the organization’s history.


Agency: Smith & Jones

Campaign: Repositioning / Primary Care