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Mount Sinai Launches First National Campaign

Analysis  |  By  
   April 06, 2016

Print and television ads aim to highlight the organization's simple message: the health system is changing the face of medicine.

"The person who says it cannot be done should not interrupt the person who's doing it."

The proverb is the only spoken portion of one of Mount Sinai Health System's latest 15-second TV spots—a voiceover that plays along with footage of a lone mountaineer ascending a rocky cliff.

At the end of the ad, black text on a white background reads, "Changing the face of medicine." And the final frames display the health system's logo and its campaign tagline, "For you. For life."

The message is intentionally simple, and perfectly encapsulates Mount Sinai's motivation to create this new campaign—it's the seven-hospital system's first national effort. The organization has been evolving and expanding in recent years, pushing forward like a climber in the clouds.

For You. For Life.

The campaign, created by ad agency DeVito/Verdi, launched in July 2015 with print ads that ran in The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, and local New York newspapers.

"Our initial print ads were part of an effort to highlight Mount Sinai's expanding network of hospitals, ambulatory practices, community health centers, and affiliations and partnerships, which are now in reach of all New Yorkers," says Kenneth L. Davis, MD, president and CEO of Mount Sinai Health System. "We also wanted to highlight our evolution as a healthcare system that places people and population health at the center of its mission." 

The print ads also focused on the culture of innovation at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai.

The second phase of the print ads, which continue to run monthly in The New York Times Magazine, focus on patient success stories from key clinical service areas, showing how experts from various medical disciplines have come together to deliver compassionate and personalized care throughout a patient's lifetime. 

The TV ads, a group of 15-second spots, debuted locally and nationally in January 2016. The TV spots support the innovation and philosophy that is central to Mount Sinai, making the point that the health system is changing the face of medicine.

The ads use a combination of powerful imagery and quotes, including an excerpt from one of Robert F. Kennedy's speeches.

A Creative Reunion

DeVito/Verdi had worked with Mount Sinai to create print and radio advertising from 2003 to 2009, but when the two teamed up again to create the "For you. For life." campaign, the health system had undergone so many changes that the agency decided to start at square one.

"While the essence of the institution remained, Mount Sinai went through considerable expansion and the significant push to lead in key areas of research," says Ellis Verdi, president of DeVito/Verdi. "Importantly, they had placed a renewed focus on putting the patient at the center of all of all their efforts, and were well on their way to making substantive changes to achieve the goal of advancing medicine."

To get to the heart of the campaign message, the agency conducted extensive interviews throughout the organization, finding that since they last worked together Mount Sinai had begun to push the envelope even further, adopting a philosophy of changing the face of medicine.

"With clear direction in a number of areas, we began the campaign announcing the new expanded system, which made the Mount Sinai brand of advanced care available practically everywhere," Verdi says. "To support this message and others, we first relied heavily on print with local and national exposure… In January, to expand the reach and further build on the impact of our message, we began to add television to the mix."

Once marketers determined the best way to communicate Mount Sinai's philosophy and mission, they knew they had to spread the word far and wide.

"We wanted to share our message with a variety of audiences, including those in the national arena," Davis says. "We wanted to convey how special our healthcare providers are, the deep relationships they have with their patients and, beyond that, a sense of our commitment to research and innovative medical curriculum."  

To save money on production costs, DeVito/Verdi created the TV spots using existing footage—a method that allowed the production of 10 ad spots for less than the cost of one typical spot.

"The footage we used was of the highest quality and will likely be recognized as existing footage only after reading this," Verdi says. "With the ability to produce a number of spots the overall program's impact increases exponentially; particularly when the goal is having the audience feel the importance of Mount Sinai."

Since the campaign is in the early stages, marketers are still measuring results, but they believe the initial feedback has been positive.

"Our goal was to showcase Mount Sinai through advertising that was emotional and engaging. We wanted to appeal to all of our audiences--patients, doctors, employees, students, donors, and other individuals," Davis says.

"The campaign was well received, and many said that the ads reinforced what our health system offers in terms of quality patient care and innovations in research and education."

Verdi says he thinks the campaign resonated with audiences because the advertising is consistent with the voice of Mount Sinai. It's differentiated because it closely reflects the unique institution, and industry leaders are taking notice.

"At this point, the best means to test the effectiveness of the campaign is to take the pulse and gauge the reaction of all the key health leader constituencies across the country," Verdi says. "These audiences are in some ways the caretakers of our brand and so far, the reactions are exceeding our expectations."

Mount Sinai Print Ads by HLMedit

Marianne Aiello is a contributing writer at HealthLeaders Media.

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