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Virtually everyone in the country has seen the "Got Milk?" advertisements of the National Dairy Council — pictures of milk- mustachioed famous people talking about the benefits of milk. So imagine the pleasure at Jewett 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 Univer-sity of Central Florida, also in Orlando.
"Typically, Jewett doesn’t do ads," explains Andrea Eliscu, RN, president of Medical Marketing in Winter Park, FL, the consulting firm that assisted Jewett with the project. "But this was a great opportunity for us."
The result has been great exposure for Jewett, 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."
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. Eliscu says the reason Jewett was able to do the ad was because she had the foresight to call her local dairy council and ask if they 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. Jewett also had to promise not to run the ads in any national publication.
Because Jewett 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. 140.) The contractual relationship with the organizations requires that Jewett 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: Jewett 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 Jewett 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 Jewett, which has a contractual responsibility for sponsorship with both organizations. This campaign added an additional cost of about $250 to that budget, she says.
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 signed Jewett up 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 Jewett 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 but any advertising which Jewett 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, anyone can do 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 Jewett. "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."
Not every community has a professional sports team or a well-known college level team. And teams usually have long-standing relationships with physician practices that act as team doctors. But Andrea Eliscu, RN, president of Medical Marketing in Winter Park, FL, says that shouldn’t stop you from trying to develop relationships with those teams.
"Certainly the easiest way to get in is through an expansion situation," she says, noting that when the Orlando Magic came in 1987, she was able to foster a relationship between them and Jewett Orthopedic Clinic. (For more on that relationship, see related story, p. 138.) "If they already exist and have a relationship with a practice, you have to work very hard to take that contract away."
You should start by getting to know the coach and general manager and let them know what you have to offer. But beware: You shouldn’t get into this kind of relationship expecting money. Indeed, usually a contract will require you to spend more money than you make from the relationship. "You are a sponsor; you will be asked to advertise, to do things with the team," explains Eliscu.
But you do get visibility. For instance, Jewett's name appears on the Magic scoreboard. "The gain comes from the increased name recognition." And there are other perks. Every Jewett office has signed Magic jerseys and photographs of the stars. When a star is injured, your physicians are talking to the press. "But you have to understand that you are paying out dollars for this kind of relationship. You have to decide whether that expense is worth the air time you’ll get."