When Stryker started working on a brand campaign for Mako SmartRobotics, the medical technology company was building on nearly 20 years of direct-to-consumer marketing. 

This dates back to a campaign in 2003 featuring the “Golden Bear” of golf, Jack Nicklaus, on ceramic-on-ceramic replacements. 

While the recently-launched Scan. Plan. Mako Can. effort doesn’t have the star power of that campaign, it does feature two 45-second vignettes starring actors as patients who had replacement surgery before a vacation aboard a yacht and before a daughter’s wedding. 

Alissa Sellers, senior director of marketing at Stryker, describes the nationwide campaign as driven in part by the COVID-19 pandemic. When elective procedures were largely postponed during the early part of the crisis, Mako sought to have its CT-scan and haptic-tech surgical approach be front-of-mind for consumers. 

Regarding the content of the two spots, Sellers explains the route the company took to the final products. 

Stryker Mako SmartRobotics

“There’s a ton of research that goes into any type of campaign like this. What we wanted to do was be able to emotionally connect with patients in a way that made them want to stop and learn about the technology,” she says. 

A woman jumping off the ladder of a boat and into the sea as well as a father dancing at his daughter’s wedding were the scenes that created the emotional attachment the company was looking for.

Along with creating those bonds with consumers, the campaign tries to keep the focus on the CT scans — they provide both the first word of the campaign name and are also prominently highlighted in the video spots. 

“The foundation [of the campaign] was on the CT scan and educating people that it is the differentiating piece,” Sellers says. “A scan of your anatomy is what allows your doctor to give you a personalized procedure and then they’re planning the surgery with the robotic arm based on your plan.”

Sellers describes the campaign as an integrated omnichannel one, with surgeon partners playing a crucial role as well. 

“You’re going to see [the campaign] everywhere,” she says. “Online, social media. We’re hitting linear TV, connected TV, you name it. It is a fully integrated campaign. The different feature here is that the partnership is with our surgeon customers. You’re going to see this campaign out in the world, but then when you get to your doctor’s office, they have all of the tools and supporting education materials there as well.”

The Scan. Plan. Mako Can. campaign is in its early days though Sellers reports a 300% increase in use of the surgeon locator on the Mako website.

Stryker Mako SmartRobotics

At the same time, she shares that surgeon partners have reported an increase in customers asking about Mako procedures. 

While Sellers and the campaign explain the benefits of haptics in terms of reducing pain and recovery times, she hopes the campaign conveys a more basic and universal message. 

“Life’s too short. You don’t want to live on those sidelines and miss things in your life that you want to be part of,” she says. “There’s technology out there that can allow you to get back to doing the things that you love and want to do.”