As any brand who has employed Tiger Woods and Charlie Sheen in their advertising will tell you, celebrity testimonials are often a high-risk, high-reward proposition. Celebrities instantly lend credibility to brands they associate with are among the most effective means for effectively reshaping consumer perceptions. But discounting the fact that even the most seemingly innocuous celebrity endorsements can blow up in a marketer’s face, the presence of celebrities can overshadow the brands they advocate, resulting in ineffective advertising.
In a new article for HealthLeaders Media, Celebrity Ties Benefit Hospitals-When Alignment is Right, Marianne Aiello outlines how one healthcare facility not only successfully employed a celebrity in a hospital advertising campaign, they did so twice.
Aiello describes how The University of Kansas Hospital chose Tom Skerritt to help communicate the medical center’s position as a leader in academic medicine. Skerritt was chosen not for his current buzz (Skerritt’s best known roles were in Top Gun and Steel Magnolias) but for his believability, trustworthiness and Midwestern roots. The Skerritt campaign was highly successful, but as the hospital’s messaging shifted, management realized Skerritt was no longer the best person to deliver it. Desiring to pursue a creative strategy that emphasized intimacy and one-to-one messaging, The University of Kansas Hospital went with Tony-award winning star Joan Allen.
The University of Kansas Hospital’s campaigns have been highly successful, as unaided recall of the organization has increased 39 percent over the past decade and association of the hospital with the academic medical center has climbed 66 percent over the samer period. More importantly, patient volume has continued to steadily climb, even through economic downturns.