Award-Winning Hospital Marketing


“Best of Show” winner in the national Healthcare Advertising Awards, the re-positioning and cross-platform marketing campaign for Central Baptist Hospital of Lexington, Kentucky, represents a nexus of my consulting and copywriting practices.

The Maring Weissman agency of St. Louis engaged me to help them untangle a gnarly positioning problem for their client, well known in Lexington for their patient-centric approach, especially in women’s care and children’s care. Hospital management wanted to reboot and evolve its positioning to improve perception of the investment it had made in state-of-the-art medical technology, and other practice areas. They felt (and research proved them right) the hospital wasn’t getting “credit” in patients’ minds for their technological progress and advances.

Our resulting recommendation was what we called a “High-Tech/High-Touch” approach, in which the new technology would be dramatically revealed, but patient-centric messaging would still dominate. Our North Star was a focus on outcomes, outcomes, outcomes. People, we assert, go into the hospital with one goal: getting home.

This newly evolved positioning crystalized in the tagline I wrote: “This is care.” It subsequently anchored hundreds of marketing and messaging pieces. “This is care,” meaning, this is state of the art stuff. “This is care,” meaning, this is caring.

Next, we recommended a complete simplification of hospital department nomenclature, from the cold “obstetrics,” “cardiology,” etc., to the very human and clear:  “Heart Care, Cancer Care, Stroke Care, Spine Care, Women’s Care, Children’s Care.” These now simplified specialties anchored the bottom of each of a series of double-page newspaper ads, running in Sunday editions of the Lexington Herald-Leader. Here are the first three ads of 10.

“Alan’s Heart”


“Donna’s Life”


“Steve’s Blood Flowing.”


“This is Nathan”

The impact in Sunday newspapers was vivid: a new double-page spread every Sunday, for 10 weeks, then in rotation for a year. Next, web landing pages for each speciality were created, using the scenario content from the newspaper ads, and each scenario was also translated into animated, three-frame, animated banner ads linking to those landing pages.


Next, TV: a bundle of 10 spots, for each the scenarios, maintaining the streamlined, three-beat structure (“this is / this is / this is”) and, while dramatically revealing the technology, maintaining a focus on outcomes. Always, outcomes.

These scenarios were reinterpreted in all other media, too: on everything from outdoor boards to bus wraps, from direct mail to radio. Patient preference studies later conducted by the hospital measured significant increase in awareness, messaging recall, and most importantly, preference.

That’s what happens when you approach re-positioning with great…



Client: Central Baptist Hospital
Agency: Maring Weissman, St. Louis
Creative Director: Paul Maring
Designers: Paul Maring and Chuck Hart
President, Account Director: Susan Weissman
Tv Production: The Arbor Group

Marketing Consultant and Copywriter: Walt Jaschek

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