Stethoscope as microphone: AMA launches multimedia ad campaign

The American Medical Association (AMA) is airing a series of ads to spur popular support for its political agenda while uniting members. The campaign, called "Voices," is appearing in various media including TV and radio this month and next. A magazine cover wrap targeting physicians accompanies certain copies of Time, and an original, full-length song was written and produced to drive home the theme of communication to doctors and patients. With the tagline introduced last year of "Helping Doctors Help Patients," the campaign reminds the public of critical patient issues the AMA is tackling, including stopping Medicare cuts and expanding heath insurance coverage to the uninsured. "These issues are tantamount to the future of healthcare for all Americans, and when we unify doctors and patients, we create a strong voice that will be heard," said AMA chief marketing officer Gary Epstein, in a statement. The effort stems from Chicago-based Lou Beres & Associates, which the AMA says has handled all its brand advertising since April. At press time, details about the cost of the campaign and whether Frankel, the Chicago agency behind last year's $20 million AMA re-branding effort, is still involved were not available, the AMA told MM&M. The 2005 effort saw AMA's logo overhauled and sought to inform members and patients alike about AMA's policies and its role in them. The new campaign makes a fresh attempt at a similar goal, employing one of the most recognizable of icons—the stethoscope. In ads patients appear to turn the stethoscope into a mouthpiece, ostensibly to lend their voices to important healthcare issues. Print ads appear in Newsweek, Ladies Home Journal, U.S. News and World Report, and Time. TV spots direct patients to a special Web site, A button on the site links to AMA's Patients' Action Network, which fights for patients’ rights. While at the site, patients also can watch a video set to the campaign song, called "What’s in Front of Me." Ads targeting doctors show clinicians speaking into the business end of the stethoscope, the intended message being that AMA provides a forum for them to share their voices. The Time cover wrap featuring doctors was sent to physician subscribers nationwide.

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