Can Product Placement Build Patient Volumes?

The season ending Grey’s Anatomy slipped in two mentions of the Cleveland Clinic and once mentioned a doctor by name… did that turn into business at the hospital? The answer is a definite maybe.

Because you can’t measure it, product placement is still relatively cheap. I investigated that same Grey’s Anatomy opportunity for a large academic medical center client and they were only asking $15,000 at the time.

Here’s what we know: for younger audiences :30 second TV spots are over… newspapers are over… magazine ads are mostly overand the two most important words on a billboard are “next exit”. So what is left?

Product placement is one of the beneficiaries of a shift in media dollars (along with digital). Even music videos are now packed with dozens of product placements. But what has worked to get a message teens and twenty-somethings will not be effective in the older healthcare demographic target group.

Who is our demographic group: generally speaking (of course excluding OB maternity and pediatric messages) our targets are 50+ and still not downloading and TiVo’ing everything. They still watch the commercials on TV, read the paper, and subscribe to the same magazines.

Product Placement may still be a good idea in some cases:

  • If you are trying to build a regional or national reputation for a clinical program
  • Whatever you do, it only works when you leverage it with tons of PR to mention the placement and make a big deal out of it.
  • Usually your best bet is still the local news- your docs should be the local subject matter experts (do you have an infectious disease doc or a doc that could “play one on TV”? News people always need those interviews)

Product placement is probably not your best option for messaging, but you need to be aware of the possibilities as they continue to evolve.




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