A Boston hospital’s campaign goes interactive—with T-shirts

Suffering from ‘agency hangover,’ Beth Israel Deaconess used social and traditional media, and the do-it-yourself catch phrase, ‘Healthy is ______.’

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Not long ago Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center in Boston developed a serious condition known as “agency hangover.”

Its staff would approach an ad agency about doing a marketing campaign. The agency experts would ask, “Who are you?” and listen as hospital staff answered.

Then the agency gurus would propose exploring the question in depth, using interviews, market research, and focus groups. The bill: $30,000-$40,000.

“It takes about three months,” Rhonda Mann, the hospital’s director of marketing communications, said at Ragan’s recent Health Care Marketing and PR conference. “And you’re tens of thousands of dollars into it. And they finally come back, and they tell you exactly what you told them on step one.”

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