All Promise, No Proof.


Northwell Health of NY is a brand on which I cut my planning teeth. My work for Northwell began sometime after the year 2,000. The brand strategy developed back then still stands, even though many of the agency players have changed. When I started planning, Northwell, a system of hospitals, described itself as “a loose federation of hospitals.” Today, they are a tight knit juggernaut.

This week I saw a new :30 spot for the system under the new tagline Raise Health. It was posted on the LinkedIn account of CEO Michael Dowling, a superb leader and administrator.  He (or the proxy who posts to his LinkedIn account) lauded the ad. The strategy behind it is collaborative medicine…but the ad does not deliver. Visually maybe, but not in the copy.

The key copy point is “More experts, with deeper insights, getting to more breakthroughs.” This ladies and gentlemen is a claim. Three claims actually. And it’s an example of poor ad craft. Ads need proof. Scientific reasons to believe. This ad has none. Except for the promise that Tanya (patient) is better.  

Let me first say I learned a lot about branding by studying Northwell. This organization built its reputation on science. On maximizing protocols, sharing up and down its hospital network and constantly measuring data.  But that’s not what this ad does. It falls into the copy trap of all promise no proof. Even the words “more experts” is hollow.

Now, I did click through and found a story behind the Tanya case. I didn’t read the story. Most people won’t. Millions will see the ad though. And it’s nice film, nice words, but no proof. Nothing to remember.

Northwell Health and all its hard-working docs and professionals deserve better. Northwell is a system of hospitals.