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Virtua Marketing Campaign Leads to Colonoscopy Screening Increase

Analysis  |  By Melanie Blackman  
   August 05, 2022

The "Class of '93 Colonoscopy Campaign" created a 68% increase in colonoscopy leads.

Marlton, New Jersey-based Virtua Health took humor to social media platforms to let patients know that the screening age for colonoscopies is 45, five years younger than what the public generally associates with getting a colonoscopy.

Featuring "throwback" photos and highlighting the trends of the time, the marketing department used the "Class of '93 Colonoscopy Campaign" to resonate with and grab the attention of those who graduated high school during that time, who are now be eligible for a colonoscopy screening.

"For years, everyone associated turning 50 [years old] with getting a colonoscopy. Many people still do," Gregory Seltzer, MD, medical director of Virtua Gastroenterology, said in a press release. "We now know that we can save lives by screening people at a younger age and detecting cancer sooner. Everyone should get a colonoscopy at age 45, or even younger if you have a family history of colorectal cancer. This is a vital message to get out into the community."

Between January and the end of March, the campaign created a 68% increase in colonoscopy leads, the health system says. More than 100 patients scheduled gastroenterology appointments after seeing the campaign on social media, which featured authentic photos of Virtua team members from the '90s.

"Early in my career, I was told that health care is serious business, with little room for lightheartedness or humor," Chrisie Scott, MBA, senior vice president and chief marketing officer for Virtua Health, said in a statement. "We set out using young-at-heart nostalgia to catch people’s attention and share essential information in a creative manner. It worked."

The campaign received strong engagement, the health system says, with those on Facebook tagging former high school classmates in the comments section of the campaign posts.

"I applaud the Virtua colleagues who understood what we hoped to achieve and were good-natured enough to provide photos from their teen years. It’s fun to look back on iconic '90s hairstyles and fashions with a sense of humor, and to channel that into meaningful action to advance public health," Bridget Reuter, marketing manager at Virtua Health, said in a statement.

The campaign also won the Best Healthcare Campaign category as part of the 2022 Social Media Stars Awards.

"As nice as it is for our team to receive recognition for smart, impactful marketing, the real joy comes in knowing people saw our campaign, scheduled colonoscopy appointments, and, quite possibly, extended their lives by catching issues early. That is a real win," Scott said.

Melanie Blackman is a contributing editor for strategy, marketing, and human resources at HealthLeaders, an HCPro brand.

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