I’ve heard the ad on Pandora about a dozen times. A major local healthcare provider, Duke Medicine, is threatening to withhold service from people who pick the wrong health insurance.
They don’t say it precisely like that. But the clear message is we care more about our bottom line than about serving people.
Is that any way to build a brand?
Here’s a transcript of Duke’s ad, slightly abridged.
Open enrollment on the healthcare exchange is coming to an end. Pick the wrong one and you could lose access to every benefit of Duke Medicine. Every doctor. Every hospital and clinic. Every therapist, nurse, and aide. Every piece of research, breakthrough, and life-saving innovation. Every part of the Duke System that matters most for your health.
Duke probably conceived the ad as a quasi public-service announcement, with a chance to remind everyone what a top-notch hospital they have.
What I heard, again, was that for Duke the bottom line is more important than providing care.
Perhaps Duke misjudged their audience: people who buy their own health insurance, who aren’t looking for anything fancy and who want it to be as uncomplicated as possible. People who listen to Pandora with the ads.
What that audience hears, is almost certainly not the message Duke intended to convey.
In the software industry we had a word for that kind of marketing: FUD — for fear, uncertainty, and doubt. Continue reading