The 5 unhealthiest habits in healthcare advertising

Ryan Wallman
May 30, 2013

Healthcare advertising

1. Trying to tell the entire story in one ad

The adage is not: ‘a picture is worth a thousand words, but let’s add in the 1000 words as well, just to be sure’.

2. Condescension

Healthcare professionals have been through years of tertiary education. They don’t need a full-page product logo as a mnemonic.

3. Using the ‘wrong’ kind of jargon

It’s a good idea to call patients ‘clients’, and refer to ‘treatment paradigms’, if you don’t want doctors to read the rest of your message.

4. Misplaced metaphors

If you’re going to venture down the metaphorical track, make sure you don’t get lost in the wilderness of incomprehensible communication. And take particular care to avoid the big animals of healthcare advertising.

5. Making a ‘healthcare ad’

You know the drill.

A young, impossibly good-looking person in rude health (who bears no resemblance to the patient demographic) sporting a laughably artificial smile and looking wistfully into the middle distance.

A headline of physically nauseating cheesiness.

An exhaustive list of irrelevant product features, but no mention of product benefits.

And a rigorous avoidance of anything approaching genuine emotion.

Essentially, all the stuff that would make a Mad Man choke on his morning whisky.

What’s your diagnosis?

Agree with our list? Disagree? Tweet us at @wellmark_health.

And for some tips on what to avoid in copywriting generally, take a look at our 8½ worst copy mistakes you can make.

By Ryan Wallman, Head of Copy at Wellmark. Ryan has qualifications in marketing, medicine and copywriting, and has previously served on the judging panel of the Global Awards for Healthcare Advertising.

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