Brand Dig: The Rewards of an Advertising Campaign that Celebrates Real Health

In this blog series, we dig into the world of marketing and discuss brands, news, trends and examples that have made the digital headlines.

In this week’s post, marketer Kyle looks at how creative is being applied to a industry that is usually very standardised, due to strict regulations.

Health it’s the most important thing in one’s life. This begs the question, why has the health industry lacked such creativity? From the “Don’t smoke or your skin will turn black and eyes bleed” cigarette package warnings, to the “Get a 5% increase on your life insurance policy if you don’t die in the next 150 years” sleazy insurance ad, there seems to be a recurring trend where preparing for a path we all must take some day (even that sounds less depressing), is more important than celebrating life itself. Is it due to industry regulations? Brands tiptoeing around these issues to keep away from scrutiny? Maybe in part.

But it’s definitely not the only thing: there are creative agencies that are doing things different; inspiring, imagining, conceptualising and using the joys of life that are associated with well-being because isn’t that the point of health? To be able to celebrate life’s rewards? Here are three of the best examples where fearless creative has paid off.

A spoonful of Chuck Norris jokes makes the medicine go down

Unless you were born in the stone age (in which you would have witnessed the extinction of the dinosaurs by Chuck), you will have heard the quips about Mr Norris. In the USA, if you count all the medical codes they use to identify injuries and ailments in the health care system, you’d come up to more than 76,000. The “Way In” campaign by insurance company UnitedHealthcare used these unique codes to create stories where people injure themselves in humorous situations, that range from a pool “vault” to a romantic “song”. Their latest one uses the aforementioned legendary kick boxing champion to demonstrate another way how you might find yourself in the doctor’s office. Leo Burnett Chicago (the creative agency responsible for the campaign) decided to use health injuries as a comedy trigger because let’s be honest, in a lifetime we’ll have seen someone get hurt by doing something incredibly stupid, and as such, we are rewarded with a great story to tell and many a laugh to be shared.

Free the nipple (not for humans of a female gender)

Here’s a fun fact, on some social platforms you are not allowed to show female nipples. If us men weren’t so besotted by boobs, it probably wouldn’t be an issue, but there you go. Unfortunately, this means that when it comes to addressing a real issue such as breast cancer, this type of censorship seems ridiculous (side note: Pulsar’s Marketing Manager just shouted it’s ridiculous in any case, but let me get back to my point). Finding a loophole that the social media platforms forgot, which was, men have nipples, and men can have boobs too or rather moobs (not so besotted by breasts now, hey guys). Agency David created a social media campaign for Argentinian cancer charity Macma, in which a man named Henry demonstrated how to do a proper breast examination using his moobs and a woman’s hands, as if they were her own.  The video not only raised awareness of the importance of early detection but also highlighted how wrong censorship can be. Through this concept they offer perhaps the biggest reward of all, knowledge, which when it comes to life threatening diseases like cancer, you can never know enough.

Getting blood out of virtual air

Giving blood can be a pain – not so much the figurative pain of going through the hassle, but rather the pain of literally being stabbed with a needle. As humans, we tend to avoid painful circumstances, which (surprise) can be quite a selfish thing. Using this insight, agency  23red created an iPhone app for their Virtual Blood Donation campaign for the NHS, that lets you see the effects of a blood transfusion. Through augmented reality, the app shows you two large screens, one with an empty blood bag and the other with an ill patient. Visual recognition is then used to create a real time interaction between the user and the screens. The user would place his phone over his arm to draw blood, triggering the blood bag on the screen to fill up. The virtual donor can then watch as the sick patient gradually returns to health. The campaign was a massive reward to participants because helping each other is in our genes, and seeing with our own eyes how donating blood can save a life in front of us, can be a behaviour changer.

These campaigns draw a real response from the people who are exposed to them, and as simple as some executions may look, they come from insights into genuine human behaviour. So whether it’s finding out if women under 25 know how to examine themselves for breast cancer, or how people injure themselves at rock concerts, we can help you delve into the culture of humans. If you’d like to hear how we’ve been able to help agencies and brands in the healthcare industry, get in touch with us here.

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