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HealthLeaders Media Marketing Awards 2007: A Campaign with Heart

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Best Integrated Marketing Campaign: Advocate Good Shepherd Hospital

Red. For many, it's the color of blood that keeps us alive. For others, it represents the love in a beating heart. Still others see it as an internal fire that inspires a life well-lived. To the residents of Barrington, IL, the color red represents all three, thanks to a marketing campaign launched in 2006 by Advocate Good Shepherd Hospital. Showing photos of heart center patients spending time with their families and enjoying life--all while clad in red shirts--the campaign successfully established Advocate Good Shepherd as the cardiac authority in the county (some examples are on page 49).

The "Red Shirt" campaign was honored in November at the first HealthLeaders Media Marketing Awards in New York City, taking home the Best Integrated Marketing Campaign.

The campaigns honored at the inaugural event sponsored by Thomson Healthcare were not only creatively pleasing, but they got results--and Advocate's campaign was no exception. When the hospital learned that a competing facility was opening a cardiac surgery center of its own, Advocate's marketing staff knew they had some work to do. "We were very new to cardiac services ourselves," says Kathy Lapacek, vice president of business development for Advocate Good Shepherd, who accepted the award at the ceremony on Nov. 9, 2007. "So we had to build awareness in the community that we were doing this kind of surgery."

Finding the right campaign took some long discussions and some failed concepts, Lapacek says, but her staff knew it had the right idea when it launched the "Red Shirt" campaign.

"We looked at it from the patients' perspective and the value [of our program] to them," she says. "How do they relate to it? They relate to it because they want to get back to their normal lives. Until we arrived at that concept, we hadn't hit on what was going to resonate in the community."

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