Private View: Stephanie Berman

Stephanie Berman, partner at The Bloc, a member of Indigenus
Stephanie Berman, partner at The Bloc, a member of Indigenus

It can be hard to keep an edge in healthcare. We're oh so sensi­tive about upsetting and offend­ing and being squeam­ish about health. Playing it safe is so much easier. But it's way less fun. I would also argue that it's way less likely to make a difference, whether you're looking to drive disease awareness, customer engagement or brand sales. To be sure, there are many disease states and products where pushing this far would be entirely inappro­priate. But let's not use that as an excuse. Explore boundaries. Get comfortable with being uncomfortable. You might upset a few people but you could win over many more. 

Halloween Treats Gone Wrong
Agency: Publicis Kaplan ­Thaler, New York 
Here's a toothpaste ad with teeth. Kids are asked to try out healthy sugar-free Halloween treats and their reactions are priceless. Even to this grown-up the nori pops look repellent. Spoiler alert: There is live action throw-up at 00:52 and trust me, that kid ain't faking. 

Agency: McCann Health, China 
Sure to elicit gasps of delighted horror, this beautifully executed print campaign pushes us to the very edge of squeamishness. I never thought I'd say this, but poop, I'm rooting for you.

Stupid Cancer
Agency: CDM, New York 
Stupid Cancer provides a platform, both live and virtual, for young adults living with cancer to vent, connect and get busy living. This breakthrough print campaign is pity-free and cool as they come, encouraging can­cer patients to join “the sickest party in town.” The imagery is authentic, the copy edgy, the message clear—this organization “gets” cancer.

Play With Yourself
Agency: M&C Saatchi, Sydney 
Australian men are 21% more likely to get testicular cancer than the world average, yet most men there still don't check themselves. In an inspired collaboration, Blue Ball Foundation and Digital Playground placed a testicular-cancer-check bang in the middle of the action during “Game of Balls,” a Game of Thrones parody available on adult entertainment sites. Based on the sound marketing principle of going where your customers are, it has driven over 200,000 visits to to date.

Agency: Langland, Windsor 
STDs are reaching epidemic proportions in the UK but people are embarrassed to get checked out at a clinic. What's more embarrassing—being sniffed out by the sexually transmitted infection unit's dogs in public? Supported by rich social-media engagement, this mockumentary hooks you right until the punch line—it's better to check your privates in private with a home STI test.

The most recent MM&M Skill Sets Live event, "Personalizing the Healthcare Experience," surveyed a range of issues relating to some of the industry's hottest topics. This e-book conveys a wealth of information and opinion designed to help marketers demystify the challenges associated with the personalization of healthcare messaging. Click here to access.