Top healthcare ads of 2016

Testi-monials, man boobs, and superheroes — oh my!

As strategic, creative storytellers, we hold our work to the highest standards. When it comes to judging someone else’s advertising, well, you can imagine that we can be a bit harsh. However, 2016 brought a lot of great healthcare marketing campaigns, particularly in the areas of preventative care. With population health initiatives permeating the healthcare industry, we applaud these organizations for creating bold campaigns to help prevent or detect illnesses before they turn into bigger healthcare concerns.

Here are a few of our favorites:

Unsick Day

Taking time off from work because you’re sick is a real bummer. In 2016, ZocDoc found a way to combat this issue and create a memorable advertising campaign. More of a PSA than an actual ad for ZocDoc, their campaign asks companies to establish an “Unsick Day” at the office to give employees a jump start on preventative care. What prompted this cause? ZocDoc found that 86 percent of Americans either delay or cancel routine doctor and dentist appointments due to work responsibilities. Any ad that advocates preventative care is a winner in my book. Plus, the video is good fun and kind of reminiscent of the 1990 romantic thriller,“Ghost.” Kudos to them. — Caroline Murray


Agency: Office of Baby

Production Company: Gravy Films

Unlimited You

I’m a sucker for rooting for the underdog, and I particularly love motivational ads. Over the years Nike has done a nice job with that kind of theme (“Find your Greatness” was an excellent campaign). In “Unlimited You” it moves from rooting for the underdog to doing all you can do to succeed to exceeding unbelievable expectations — you get the point. I like ads that break the narrative; they stand out for me, and in this, the announcer takes on a role and becomes a viewer, too.  — Kayla Germain


Agency: Widen + Kennedy

Film: Prettybird


Testicular cancer is one of the most common cancers in men ages 15 to 39. However, you don’t often catch men talking to each other about their testicles. Ad agency FCB Cape Town decided to take on the challenge and create a campaigned called ‘Testimonials for the Cancer Association of South Africa.”  The campaign aims to change the conversation about testicular cancer and get more men to feel comfortable talking about their private parts. The agency used tongue and cheek humor to draw attention to an otherwise awkward topic and increase the rate of early detection. It’s great to see organizations thinking way out-side-of-the-box and still succeeding. — David Mercier


Agency: FCB Cape Town

Everyday Hero

Not all heroes are superheroes. Philips’ “Everyday Hero” campaign tells a true story about an ordinary man who goes out of his way to make the world a better place. At first, it looks like an ad about an adult man who woke up late for his job. After dressing as Spider-Man, however, and rushing to his destination, you know he’s signed up for something much deeper than that.  It turns out, he’s a window cleaner at a children’s hospital and dressed as Spider-Man to give the children something to smile about that day. The ad ends with the statement, “At Philips, we see healthcare differently. There’s always a way to make life better.” The message and its meaning make this ad worthy of our list.  — Mark Shipley


Agency: Ogilvy and Mather London


It’s no surprise that this breast cancer campaign went viral. In this ad, a pair of “man boobs” teach women about early breast cancer detection. Due to censorship policies, women’s breasts cannot be exposed to demonstrate breast self-examination on social media. So, this advertising agency found a loophole — man boobs. Not only is it humorous, but also extremely informative. The ad swept across social media and was one of the most shared videos of its time. — Sara Tack


Agency: DAVID

Health App

Taking care of your health is made simple if you download the Apple Health App. At least, that is what Apple tries to convey in this ad campaign. A series of videos it released in 2016 uses stop motion animation to show the benefits of making healthier decisions. One ad named, “Everything’s Connected,” focuses on how simple improvements can lead to significant health achievements. It’s nice to see Apple diverge from its typical over the top videos to relay an important message about health and wellness. — David Vener

’Our Song’ UnitedHealthcare

This particular ad stands out among others because it’s laughable, relatable and the ‘sale’ feels genuine. The comic relief provides viewers the chance to relate their personal injuries to the dancing couple. We all have that one accident that we’re too embarrassed to share – tripping up the stairs, walking into a sliding glass door, dancing too vigorously, etc. UnitedHealthcare uses real-life situations to help project it as an easy going, energetic, yet reliable insurance company that can connect with just about anyone. Especially millennials, who are perhaps slightly more carefree about their health and may find this comical situation less intrusive than a more serious advertisement. Also, any reference to ‘Dirty Dancing’ is always a huge plus.  — Julia Kernan


Advertising Agency: Leo Burnett

Directors: Will Speck, Josh Gordon