Some people view new medical technology as they might a mime on the street. The response is something like, “That’s interesting . . . but I hope I never see it again.”
After all, you have to get sick before a medical machine, drug or technique really becomes meaningful. If I’m in pain, then I want to know all about your digital whiz-o-matic. But if I’m feeling immortal, and no one close to me is sick either, then your new machine is probably irrelevant.
In the wider world, consumers adopt technology in predictable patterns. There are the early adopters–the geek types who keep up with the latest of everything. These are the people who camp out at the Apple store, and then go to their basements and disassemble their new i-stuff so they can blog about it. The rest of us are followers, embracing the technology as we perceive a need or desire to have it.
Hospitals tend to ignore this established pattern of consumer behavior. They advertise their new technologies as if everybody wants them, when really no one does. No one stands in line to get it first. Technology is scary. And a lot of health care advertising centered on technology looks scary.
But there are exceptions.
When The Johnson Group creative team first watched video of CyberKnife in action, they were reminded of the animated lamp at the beginning of Pixar films. Even though the name—CyberKnife—seemed intimidating, the technology itself was life-like, graceful, even personable.
CyberKnife is the first robotic radiosurgery device for cancer treatment. Rather than moving in an arc like a linear accelerator (now there’s an intimidating machine!), CyberKnife moves like a robot on an automotive assembly line. It targets tumors precisely and kills cancer cells quickly without pain.
There is a video on YouTube that shows a CyberKnife dancing. It inspired us to showcase the technology, not as simply the topic of our advertising, but as the star.
CyberKnife, like all new technologies, should be marketed to the early adopters first. In the case of cancer treatment technologies, the early adopters are physicians.
Yet even healthy consumers relate to this ad. It’s not scary. It is friendly. It seeks to establish a connection with the consumer that informs without frightening.
By the way, the marketing staff at Erlanger Health System held a contest to let employees submit names for their new CyberKnife. The winning name? Hope.
She’s a star.