In marketing communications, simpler is usually better. But, as with Mark Twain’s apology for writing a long letter—there wasn’t time to write a short one—brevity can take a while. For example, it took 85 years for Zale’s to puree the lore of engagement rings down to two words: Love Rocks.
It took a lot less than that for Baylor Health Care System to hit its stride with its “Real Problems, Real People” TV ad campaign.

Since the work debuted in 2006, former patients have represented the hospital, its people, and its equipment. “Our insight was that too much medical advertising speaks from the providers’ perspective,” says Mark Stafford, CEO of Revel United, Baylor’s Dallas ad agency. “But we wanted to increase the empathy of the spots, and a more simple approach puts more emphasis on the patient.”

The original versions telling the story were rendered clunky and confusing by too many elements. In one, a former spine surgery patient walked along a busy downtown sidewalk. Cars, pedestrians, and street signs competed for your eye while a fixed white circle—a Baylor symbol—remained center screen. A second circle, less bold, floated along with the patient as a voice-over announcer told his personal story. As the two circles converged, the patient stopped, then pluckily said, “Movin’ on!” Then, as the announcer intoned, “Pioneering medicine, applied to you,” the circle turned blue and became the O in “you.” All in 15 seconds!

In the newer, stronger, black and white spots, directed by David Wild for Dallas-based Directorz, the former patients talk directly to the camera. In one, Bob Valerioti describes his experience with a ruptured aorta in an accent as New York as the D Train.  No voice-over, no visual distractions—just pure, emotional connection as the spare documentary style puts us right in the room with him.

If love rocks, the lesson seems to be, simplicity heals.


North Texas Business Misnomers  Wherein we ask, why do they call it that?

Dallas Cowboys
They haven’t played a game in Dallas since 1971.

ViB (stands for Vacation in a Bottle)
So, how come it’s sold in a can?

Central Appraisal District
What exactly is it they’re appraising?

Texas Woman’s University
Now, which woman are we talking about?

Texas Railroad Commission
Only if the railroad in question runs on natural gas …

DART
The “R” is supposed to stand for “rapid”—not “random.”