“What's in it for me?” There is nothing new in my saying that every ad must quickly answer that question for the reader. But knowing it and pulling it off are two different things. Ads that engage and hold a patient employ the 3 P's: Personification, Personalization, and Projection.
• Personification lets patients “see themselves” in the situation; the ad acknowledges their condition and leverages a real-life moment.
• Personalization is a 1-to-1 communication tone or style—often using a “show, don't tell” approach that helps patients feel they are not alone.
• Projection allows patients to visualize a good outcome. It empowers them to take action.
At my agency, we try to incorporate the 3 P's in all we do. Here, ads from others that have done so quite nicely:
Agency: Ogilvy & Mather, Colombia
Personification: She longs to be with her guy, but that damn pimple is stopping her.
Personalization: I remember thinking “Vesuvius,” but The Grand Canyon is apt, too.
Projection: Science-y image makes me believe Benzac AC is my ticket to ride!
Agency: DM9JaymeSyfu, Manila
Personification: OMG, everyone's noticing me, not the lecturer???
Personalization: Brilliant. With no people in the chairs, it's easier to place myself there—and more terrifying.
Projection: There's one way out, and it's not by walking out.
Levine Dickson Hospice
Agency: Mower, Charlotte, NC
Personification/personalization: Even if this were all type, it would be just as powerful. Who hasn't struggled with how to behave around a dying loved one?
Projection: Thank you, Levine, for telling me it's OK to enjoy what little life is left.
Agency: Akestam Holst, Stockholm
Personification: It takes a few moments, but you just have to say the words out loud, and then you know the feeling.
Personalization: OK, I know rhinitis is not life-threatening, but it is sooooooo frustrating—and Nezeril gets it.
Projection: The layout is like a little roadmap, leading right to the land of Ahhhhs!
Agency: TBWA\PHS Helsinki
In case you were wondering, the 3 P's works for HCPs, too.
Personification/personalization: Doctor, what would you do if this patient were your wife? Can't get more personal than that.
Projection: My patients deserve my best.
Agency: GSW Junction, UK
Another HCP ad, but it works just as well for patients.
Personification: They understand the indignation of having to compensate for having Parkinson's.
Personalization: I don't ask for much, but is that too much?
Projection: They're not promising me I'll climb mountains, just take care of everyday tasks.
And you know what? I believe them.
Joe Vitale is Creative Director at Roska Healthcare Advertising in Montgomeryville, PA