OhioHealth debuts first TV ads under new agency during Buckeyes' game

OhioHealth to debut first TV ads under new agency during Ohio State Buckeyes’ game

September 1, 2017

The following article originally appeared in Columbus Business First.

OhioHealth Corp.’s first broadcast ad campaign under a new agency evolves but doesn’t abandon the work of its predecessor.

The first of two TV spots, with a third in production, debuts during Thursday night’s broadcast of the Ohio State Buckeyes’ season opener at Indiana.

That might be interpreted as a poke in the eye at rival OSU Wexner Medical Center, which confirmed it’s not running a broadcast campaign at the moment, but really it’s more about eyeballs.

“We want to show it when we know people aren’t likely to be fast-forwarding through our spots,” said Sue Jablonski, OhioHealth senior vice president and chief communications officer. “The ratings are going to be great.”

The spots, backed by an orchestral movement, intermix shots of a jogger and rambunctious children with the expected wheelchair and high-tech imaging scans. The tagline of the first spot is, “Your best health is always within reach.”

The 10-hospital system is embracing a change in business model to work alongside patients to keep them healthy and out of the hospital, Jablonski said.

“Sick care is not going away, but we need to go into this new world as well,” she said.

The ads were produced by Doe-Anderson Inc., a 102-year-old Louisville agency that represents brands such as Maker’s Mark.

The agency opened a Columbus office, its first outside headquarters, in response to winning the OhioHealth account last fall. It’s headed by Vice President Stephen Kauffman, whose past work includes the long-running spokesman stint of Wendy’s founder Dave Thomas.

Doe-Anderson has health care clients, but also applied its experience with consumer brands, Kauffman said in email.

“That was critical to what we did for OhioHealth because we wanted to bring the consumer into the conversation more directly,” he said. “Our approach was to make the communication more intimate. You will probably notice that in the TV advertising you hear a jogger’s footsteps, conversations or even the birthday song. We wanted the consumer to lean in.”

(Fun fact I just looked up after asking him about it: A successful lawsuit last year finally put the “Happy Birthday” song in the public domain.)

The campaign flips 2011’s “Believe in We” to “We believe health is an ongoing journey.” Columbus Business First used the 2011 campaign for a behind-the-scenes look at health-care branding and marketing.

If you want to compare and contrast, here’s Mount Carmel Health System’s “Because of You” campaign, which also embraces a personal and collaborative approach, but emphasizes the curative more than preventative.

Previous OhioHealth agency Doner, of Southfield, Michigan, did “fabulous work” for six years, Jablonski said. She came to OhioHealth 10 years ago from Ohio State, where bidding out advertising contracts was required every three years.

While it’s not required at OhioHealth, she decided to test the waters.

“Believe in We” fit perfectly when the system that grew out of mergers and acquisitions was still trying to assert a unified identity in its far-flung geography, she said. The campaign included patients as part of the “we,” and the new one takes that message further.

The spots also affirm the faith-based mission of OhioHealth, an affiliate of the West Ohio Conference of the United Methodist Church, and its commitment to inclusion

Actors represent various ethnicities, ages and abilities, and the conference bishop supported the final scene, showing two dads playing with their children.

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