MK 354 Spring 2010

March 22, 2010

Filed under: blog #6 — Tags: , — morganhowell @ 11:55 am

I know a few people that everyone seems to like. They all share a few qualities, such as being out-going and friendly, things one might expect. But more than anything else, they know how to tell a good story. It’s not only that they can actually tell an entertaining story but they can spot an entertaining story. Now, when it comes to marketing, each quality is important for a story to catch on and have influence over a target audience. A month or two ago I saw an ad in the New York Magazine that didn’t quite make the mark.

Magda Kristoff no doubt had an inspiring story to tell, and almost just as undoubtedly, she told that story to someone at the medical center. But the inspiration seems to have been lost in translation. A cancer patient, Magda had to go through chemotherapy, surgery, unimaginable pain and god knows what else. And the treatment she received helped her survive. How much of that story appears in the copy? None, really. Her story is boiled down to a point where it can just act as a transition to Langone’s state of the art facilities and exemplary patient care—simulation and inspiration are lost. “Our doctors and researchers work together to develop innovative therapies that aren’t the exception, but the rule,” is a great piece of copy, but not too useful in this context. That’s lead worthy, even worthy as being the Commander’s Intent for a whole campaign. But this campaign is story-based. Magda Kristoff is only one of 11 people whose stories are told, yet after reading her ad over and over I know very little about her experience at the Langone Medical Center.

So it’s my guess that whomever was in charge of this campaign is of the same school of thought as the Subway national marketing director who didn’t want to use Jared’s story—that you can’t sell medical care with an inspirational, emotional story. Or maybe Langone had just updated its facilities and they felt that had to be highlighted. Either way, they took a story with a challenge and connection plot and made her into a run of the mill spokeswoman with nothing unique to say.  Langone spotted a good story and watered it down with promotional mumbo jumbo when all they needed to do was convey Magda as a real and relatable person whose cancer Langone cured.

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