National campaign gets local twist

Got Milk?’ ads bring notice to ortho practice

Virtually everyone in the country has seen the "Got Milk?" advertisements of the National Dairy Council — excitement of milk-mustachioed famous people talking about the benefits of milk. So imagine the pleasure at Jewitt Orthopedic Clinic in Orlando, FL, when it received permission to sponsor a series of those ads in the monthly publications for the Orlando Magic basketball team and the University of Central Florida, also in Orlando.

"Typically, Jewitt doesn’t do ads," explains Andrea Eliscu, RN, president of Medical Marketing in Winter Park, FL, the consulting firm that assisted Jewitt with the project. "But this was a great opportunity for us."

The result has been great exposure for Jewitt, even though it was already well known in the community. "This brings us respect in the business community," Eliscu says. "It keeps our name in front of the public monthly, rather than just once, and it solidifies our relationship with the Magic and the university."

The guts to ask

Most people don’t realize that the dairy council, located in Rosemont, IL, allows one organization in every community to make use of the "Got Milk?" campaign for local purposes. She says the reason Jewitt was able to do the ad was because Eliscu had the foresight to call her local dairy council and ask if the practice could mimic the ads with local celebrities.

They, in turn, put Eliscu in touch with the national organization, which approved the idea with the proviso that it could approve the copy and the people who would appear in the ads. Jewitt also had to promise not to run the ads in any national publication.

Because Jewitt has a relationship with the university and the Magic as team physicians, Eliscu found it simple to approach them about the ads. (For more on getting involved with your local sports teams, see related story, p. 144.) The contractual relationship with the organizations requires that Jewitt run an ad in their publications anyway, and this offered an opportunity to expand that coverage with a nationally known campaign, she says.

Eliscu wrote letters to various Magic players, collegiate officials, and other local celebrities. The letters outlined the campaign, noting that the practice had permission to run the ads locally and assuring them that it would be a fun shoot. "Then we sat back and waited to see who would call," she says. "For the tougher sells, we went to make personal visits."

One such hard sell involved the president of the university, Eliscu recalls. "We told him: Jewitt has been a team physician for a long time, we purchase an ad in the team publication every year, and we wanted him to be in it. We promised a prominent art director, photographer, and professional makeup person. We told him he could select the photograph and approve the copy."

Once the university president said yes, Eliscu had him sign a media release and booked the shoot.

The existing relationships with the Magic and the university enabled Eliscu to secure members of the Magic team, U.S. National Team soccer player Michelle Akers, and the president, athletic director, and football coach from the university to participate free of charge in the ads.

The final photographs look just like those from the national campaigns but with the Jewitt logo at the bottom. Each month, a different celebrity appears in the ads.

And even though this year’s basketball season is in jeopardy due to the player lockout, Eliscu is still high on the potential exposure the ads bring. "The 17,000 Magic season ticket holders will still get the magazine," she says. "And the Magic organization will have to work harder to keep their fans in touch with the organization. I don’t see it as bad luck or timing."

Eliscu says the cost to shoot and produce the ads was about $1,500 each, and there are 24 ads scheduled. Those costs include makeup, photography, the art director, film, separations, and publication. The costs were already budgeted for Jewitt, which has a contractual responsibility for sponsorship with both organizations. This campaign added an additional cost of about $250 to that budget, she says.

Got another opportunity?

Shortly after the whole "Got Milk?" campaign came together in the summer, Eliscu, while traveling, saw that the Cleveland Clinic was sponsoring an osteoporosis screening where people who participated could have their photograph taken with the milk mustache. There are 100 such events throughout the country until the end of the year, and the best photograph will appear in an issue of People magazine next year. Eliscu called and registered Jewitt for the Orlando promotion (1-800-WHY MILK).

Sponsors provide a nurse and a dietitian, help to scout a location, and in return have permission to do whatever they want for visibility. Eliscu says Jewitt chose a local farmers market for the location. "The great thing is that we look like a champion for hosting this whole campaign, it will tie in with the milk ads, and we maximize exposure for a long time."

The costs for the road show, known as the Better Bones Tour, were nothing except for any advertising which Jewitt wanted to do for the event. The National Dairy Council and the National Osteoporosis Foundation of Washington, DC, did their own promotions, too.

Although the link between milk and osteoporosis makes orthopedics practices a natural choice for such a campaign, Eliscu thinks that other practices could take advantage of the "Got Milk?" and Better Bones opportunities. Family practice, internal medicine, endocrinology, radiology, pediatrics, obstetrics, and nuclear medicine practices could all have an interest in osteoporosis prevention, diagnosis, and treatment. "If you deal with aging, if you deal with osteoporosis, its impact or treatment, you might be interested," she says.

And even if the Better Bones Tour passes you by, there are probably other opportunities available throughout the year — either through the National Osteoporosis Foundation or through another organization. The Arthritis Foundation is one which often sponsors community events that could use practice sponsorship, notes Eliscu.

As for the "Got Milk?" ads, almost anyone can get involved in that, and finding the local celebrities doesn’t mean you have to live in a city with a professional sports team, she says. In a smaller community, the scout master, your local parish priest, or your mayor could be called upon to wear the milk mustache. "Use the people you know, who you have a relationship with. Don’t call up the Seattle Supersonics if you don’t know them."

Eliscu admits that this campaign was more time-consuming than most marketing projects she handles for Jewitt. "You have to make sure that all the people you photograph are happy — that they get copies of the pictures and copies of the publication. But then they see themselves and everyone else in it who participated, and it keeps us in their mind month after month. It creates added value."

It also provides a morale boost for the practice as a whole, she adds. "There is so much physician-bashing that the marketing we do has to be creative and tell its own story. This makes us look good."

Andrea Eliscu, RN, President, Medical Marketing, Winter Park, FL. Telephone: (407) 629-0062.