- OK, I'm chillin' in my crib (sorry, I'm watching The Shield on Hulu and the
dialog is contagious <g>). But what's really funny are the commercials.
First, The Shield is a really gritty dirty-cop show that was on FX, so it's
a bit grittier than you'd see on a broadcast network. Keep that image in
Next, the first commercial. Sponsoring The Shield is . (wait for it) .
Liberty University Online. For those who aren't aware of it, Liberty
University is a faith-based university, founded by the late Rev. Jerry
Falwell. Despite that, it's a highly credible accredited university (I've
got a very good friend who got her masters there, and having taught at two
universities myself, I feel that I'm right in this assessment). But it is
also faith-based, and sponsoring a show about hero cops who also boost coke
from drug dealers to put their kids through college or buy a boat . well,
you get the picture.
Next, the second commercial. This is sponsoring an episode where a meth
dealer gets blown up in his lab, 3rd degree burns over 60% of his body, and
the scene is him in ICU, about to have the plug pulled. Break to a
commercial for Cleveland Clinic. Great timing, huh?
More impressive, this is also THE WORST COMMERCIAL FOR A HOSPITAL THAT I
HAVE EVER SEEN. Let me mention that I did my masters work in advertising
while being PR director at a hospital, which (under my direction) became the
first hospital in South Carolina to advertise on radio, then on TV (and
those ads were very successful). I also won two national ADDYs for TV ads I
scripted as a freelancer for a hospital-only ad agency. So I have studied
what works and what doesn't when it comes to hospital ads.
What works is like the old adage, "sell the sizzle, not the steak" - you do
NOT show the equipment - or worse, operations - you show the happy results
of people living healthy lives post-surgery. This ad, for the Cleveland
Clinic . first, it featured a doctor who:
a. Needed a shave, badly
b. Made Barney Fife look like a sex symbol
c. He was in scruffy scrubs, so he was at his worst, not his best
(which was never very good)
Behind him, we see a cardiac catheterization in action (having had two of
them, I can assure you they aren't pretty). But the selling point? They do
their caths in the OR, so if there's a problem, they can immediately crack
open your chest, rip out your heart, stop it, fix it, put it back in, then
(hopefully) restart it. Having had one of those, too, I can assure you that
THIS is NOT a PRETTY PICTURE.
So, the ad was the worst of all possible worlds. Designed to bore (the
doctor was less exciting than the late Wally Cox - or, more recently, Al
Gore at his pedantic best, or Dan Quayle at his loquacious worst), designed
to frighten, designed to show you a cluttered and chaotic scene (no
Hollywood director would show such a cluttered OR, unless it was a horror
And on top of that, it was sponsoring a gruesome death scene in an ICU of a
"crispy-critter" burn victim. Timing - you can't make this stuff up, folks.
Since it's the weekend, I thought you might enjoy sharing my amazement at
the bad timing, bad placement and the bad ad.
Ned Barnett, APR
Marketing & PR Fellow, American Hospital Association
Barnett Marketing Communications
420 N. Nellis Blvd., A3-276 - Las Vegas NV 89110
702-561-1167 - cell/text
<http://www.barnettmarcom.com> www.barnettmarcom.com - twitter @nedbarnett
05-6-16 BMC Logo
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