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Celebrity Ties Benefit Hospitals—When Alignment is Right

Marianne Aiello, for HealthLeaders Media, June 13, 2012

Transitioning from one spokesperson to another
But in 2011, The University of Kansas Hospital realized their message was evolving. They had something new to say and they wanted a new spokesperson to say it.

"Strategically our message showcases accomplishments that are of national importance," Amor says. "Creatively we decided to deliver this message not with bigness but with great intimacy, and elected to use a woman."

The University of Kansas Hospital and SPM marketers wanted to find someone who would be a good complement to Tom because he was so liked within the organization and in the community.

"[We wanted] someone who had his same understated, yet powerful, presence," says Winegar. "Someone who was screen-familiar but not paparazzi-popular. Someone who was believable, warm and credible. And had a good reputation both on and off the screen."

When The University of Kansas Hospital finally chose the actress to replace Skerritt—Joan Allen ("Nixon," "Pleasantville," and the Jason Bourne series)—it was such a good fit they felt like Tom was passing the baton to a friend. And, as they found out later, Skerritt and Allen are, indeed, friends.  

Though the transition did evoke some sadness for the loss of Skerritt internally and externally, the hospital and the community quickly warmed to Allen.

"Joan Allen has been embraced in the same way that Tom was," Amor says. "And that was part of our plan. They are both Midwesterners and share like characteristics."

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1 comments on "Celebrity Ties Benefit Hospitals—When Alignment is Right"


Christine Ricci (7/25/2012 at 12:50 PM)
KU has done an outstanding job leveraging celebrity talent to align with their brand and to influence market perceptions. This article is spot on.