When a hospital got it wrong, and a pharma brand got it right

Communicating and raising concern about health is tricky when brands create communication. Humour can trivialize the disease; a serious tone can scare the audience and numb them into inaction. The subject is always serious, there are medical facts to communicate, and most brands would like a positive change to be brought in people’s lifestyle.

This week, two campaigns brought the healthcare conversation to the fore. One of them was juvenile in its attempt, the other overtly factual in its communication.

Apollo Hospitals released three long format ads on Diabetes, Heart and Smoking. Apollo’s core brand promise of ‘Let’s Talk Health’ is perfect to create conversation around today’s health concerns.

But the brand has missed the mark completely in the three ads. The ads are riddled with medical errors, they are not factual. Coming from a hospital, these ads can create a serious misinformation and myths about the three issues. (https://youtu.be/VJJze9c4dBY)

The communication on diabetes is completely flawed except the small fact about 65 million people suffering from the disease. Everything else is a bunch of fiction. Diabetes is not caused by eating sugar, or even an addiction to sugar. Not all fat and obese people will suffer from diabetes. Diabetes needs careful monitoring and people can lead normal lives despite having the condition of the body not producing enough insulin to break glucose down and not make it enter the blood stream. Why would a hospital turn a serious medical condition into a bunch of poorly constructed, badly argued juvenile jokes? Incidentally, it is well known that Japanese food consists of rice predominantly but the Japanese people have the lowest incidence rate of diabetes, something the creative team should have considered.

If Lady Diabetes was not diabolic enough, they have Captain Heart Attack (https://youtu.be/uq6e9ySJ2U0) who is out to get those who eat a lot of fatty food. It is 150 seconds of a long diatribe against those who eat fatty and fried food. India has the second highest population of people who have a heart condition, next only to China, and this is the basis of creating the ad. The narrative in the ad is completely misleading. There is enough Ted Talk available to tell you that heart disease cannot be reduced to a simple cause effect of fatty-food-coronary-attack equation. Why would a hospital brand reduce itself to this level?


The Grim Reaper Mr Cancero meeting unsuspecting victims is so poorly crafted that it leaves you bewildered.(https://youtu.be/hnrP4Ne3Flc) There are nuances in the ad that left me scratching my head, and this time even the medical fact didn’t connect with the narrative.

Dear Apollo Hospital, let’s not talk health, if this is the talk we have to create.

Abott is bang on


Abott released a second ad in its series after the loveable grandmom ad. (https://youtu.be/-Io-sWNtK90)

HepC is a dreaded disease; a bigger health challenge than HIV and this is a disease that has very little awareness. The narrative is simple, involving and non-jingoistic; it’s designed to evoke the response “I didn’t know”.

The Abott ad is everything that the three Apollo ads are not. The narrative is simple, raises your concern about the disease, tells you something that you should know, and asks you to take action that you can. There is no judgment. There is no dumbing down. There is no drama.

Healthcare is a difficult category; brands have to be careful in their narrative. With more information available on serious diseases than it was ever available in the public domain, the task of creating appeals should be easy.

Be impactful like Abott, not dramatic like Apollo.

Original published here: http://www.bestmediainfo.com/2015/11/adstand-when-a-hospital-got-it-wrong-and-a-pharma-brand-got-it-right/

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