Effective healthcare advertising

There is a lot of healthcare advertising out there these days.  But what percentage would you say you envy, or consider highly effective?  There have always been some basic principles when creating an effective ad.  I think sometimes in the daily haste, or even in an effort to be “creative”, the principles are cast to the side.  But why spend the money to place an ad that doesn’t motivate or compel the reader or viewer?

Let’s look at headlines in print ads.  My teachings came from David Ogilvy who had completed research on how people read ads (DO had research on everything).  He used to say that only 10% of people read beyond the headline.  Yes, that may have been a long time ago, but people aren’t that different today.  If anything, they’ll spend less time with your ad.

So let’s say you have an ad for an orthopedic center with a headline that reads “Performance is what we’re all about”.  How many people are really going to stop to read further?    Only one out of 10 people read beyond the headline because the headline rarely gives them a reason to read on.  With that headline, have their minds been changed?  Have you really spoken to them?  Don’t you hear words like “we perform” all the time in advertising?  Is there really nothing better that can be said?

The consumer is busy and is bombarded with ads all day long.  You need to spell it out for them.  Let them know you understand them and relate.  And tell them what you want them to do.  What does a person with a bad knee want?  A great knee doctor who will get them better fast.  So how about something more like “Seven answers to knee pain.”  Someone with knee pain will read that in a heartbeat, and in turn find out about your cutting edge practices, and why you’re great at orthopedics.

David Ogilvy used to say “The consumer is not a moron.  She’s your wife.”  (Or to be more PC, husband.)  But at the end of the day, it’s the simple truth.  Before you run an ad, ask your husband or wife or significant other whether they’d bother to read it.  If they say no, start over.  Otherwise, you’re simply wasting your money.