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Ad Campaign Raises Awareness of UCSF Medical Center's Innovation

By Shipra Shukla

By Shipra Shukla Posters profiling UCSF faculty, alumni, patients and donors are being displayed around campus as part of a major magazine advertising campaign for UCSF Medical Center. The donor awareness ad campaign is spearheaded by UCSF Medical Center in conjunction with the UCSF Development Office. Mark Gelhaus, director of marketing for UCSF Medical Center, is part of the team leading the efforts.

"The primary purpose of the donor awareness ad campaign is to reach out to potential donors to support the UCSF capital campaign," said Gelhaus. "The secondary purpose is to reach out to potential patients." UCSF Medical Center and UCSF Children's Hospital are recognized throughout the world as leaders in health care, providing innovative treatments, and advanced technology and supporting collaboration among clinicians and scientists. However, while UCSF has a strong reputation in the medical community, the level of awareness among donors and potential patients could be improved. "We have high rankings among how outside physicians perceive us, but we don't have that awareness among the consumer audience," said Gelhaus. "We're trying to increase the awareness in the community of our expertise and literally what our brand is. So this is partly a branding campaign." The ad campaign highlights UCSF's innovation, such as advances in translational research that lead to improved patient care. High-profile members of the UCSF community that contribute to and support this innovation are featured as a way to create a brand identity for UCSF among potential donors and patients that is synonymous with its reputation in the scientific and medical communities.

UCSF's Michael Harrison, MD, founder of fetal surgery, is featured in the new ad campaign for UCSF Medical Center. (See larger)

Two years in the making, the ad campaign was designed by San Francisco-based agency The Hive Advertising, which uses a humanistic approach in establishing a brand. "UCSF is the best hospital in the Bay Area. But instead of saying that, we wanted our ads to show it," said DeeAnn Budney, founder and creative director of The Hive Advertising. "Nothing does that better than actual stories that bring to life the amazing accomplishments of UCSF without feeling boastful. Our hope is that the medical center will be able to roll out this look, feel and message in all its outbound materials, presenting a unified voice for the brand." Visually, the ads are modern sepia toned and include a narrative about the person being profiled next to his or her photo. One of the first people to be profiled is Michael Harrison, MD, emeritus professor of pediatric surgery and founder of fetal surgery. He is shown in scrubs with this copy: "By pioneering the surgical repair of otherwise fatal defects in babies still in the womb, Dr. Harrison helped change the face of medicine. Today, UCSF is building a medical complex where scientific innovations become life-saving treatments faster." Raising Awareness While the impetus behind the ad campaign was to create brand awareness, donors are essentially being cultivated to contribute to a fundraising effort designed to help finance the construction of the new medical center at Mission Bay. The UC Board of Regents in May 2007 approved a capital campaign to raise funds for three new hospitals serving children, women and cancer patients at UCSF's Mission Bay campus. The initial phase of the campaign has a goal of raising at least $500 million. The idea for the ad campaign is to target and cultivate donors before they are asked to donate to the capital campaign. Individuals may be more receptive to giving money to UCSF if they have been cultivated through the donor awareness ad campaign. Results from a market research study cited by Hive and conducted by the National Research Corporation showed general unaided awareness of UCSF in the Bay Area at just 15 percent, behind that of Stanford, Sutter Health and Kaiser Permanente. "Potential donors need to be reminded that UCSF is the best way to help contribute to medical advances that could impact the health of their families in the Bay Area and even the world," said Budney. To reinforce the fact that UCSF has attracted major donors, some of them, including Ron Conway, a Silicon Valley angel investor and early Google backer, are profiled in the ad campaign. The donor ad campaign was developed in conjunction with individuals in the UCSF Development Office and Public Affairs department working on the capital campaign. Janice Smith Collins is the strategic marketing communications manager for the new UCSF Medical Center at Mission Bay. "We are really excited about the new donor awareness ad campaign because it gets the word out about the amazing work that goes on here, and also profiles several people who are already supporting UCSF," she said. "We hope that the ads will compel more people throughout the Bay Area and beyond to consider supporting the capital campaign." The donor awareness ad campaign marks a first for the medical center targeting potential donors and patients from a market segmentation standpoint. The ads profile spokespeople who will appeal to different segments of the donor or patient market and represent the specific services that will be offered at Mission Bay, Gelhaus noted. Targeting Patients Translational medicine - the ability to apply research findings to clinical care -- is a key component of the new medical center at Mission Bay since its intended location, directly adjacent to the research campus, supports the University's commitment to patients. While establishing a brand identity to target potential patients is often done at community hospitals, UCSF Medical Center hasn't had a campaign specifically reaching out to patients since 2001. The donor awareness ad campaign represents a shift in the medical center's need to build awareness among potential patients, especially about UCSF's position as a leader in cutting-edge research. This is reflected in the goals of hospital leadership. "The mission of the new children's hospital is to serve children by bringing the newest discoveries to cure childhood diseases," said Diana Farmer, MD, surgeon in chief of UCSF Children's Hospital. "We need donors to help us set up the framework of the children's hospital, but we can't run a hospital without the patients themselves. The children and families are the reason we do what we do each and every day." Related Links: UCSF Medical Center at Mission Bay UCSF to Build World-Class Medical Center at Mission Bay
UCSF Today, July 11, 2007