A Colonoscopy Campaign for Gilligan’s Island Watchers

Marianne Aiello, October 31, 2012

About 48 years ago, seven misfits set off on a three-hour boat tour, soon becoming hopeless castaways doomed for eternal syndication. Little did Gilligan, the skipper, the millionaire and his wife, the movie star, the professor, and Mary Ann know that nearly half a century later, their theme song would be used to prompt baby boomers to schedule colonoscopies.

In January 2012, MedStar Good Samaritan Hospital, a 346-bed hospital in Baltimore, launched an integrated campaign that played to its target audience's sentimental side. Good Samaritan had a reputation for caring for older adults, but had recently developed services and programs specifically designed to help maturing adults age actively. 

"We wanted to position ourselves as a trusted resource for this audience—and the best way to do this is to empathize," says Kris Roeder, associate vice president of marketing and communications for Good Samaritan. "Everyone over age 50 knows they need a colonoscopy, and it's something most of us put off as long as possible. I consciously sought out an iconic reference point that would help alleviate the fear about getting a colonoscopy and remind consumers approaching that age that ‘we're all in this together.' "

The campaign, which consisted of print, radio, and online ads, ran through April 11. Roeder conceived of the campaign theme because she liked the idea of using nostalgic images as a way to connect with the audience in an engaging and fun way.

Marianne Aiello

Marianne Aiello is a contributing writer at HealthLeaders Media.

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