Healthcare Advertising on Radio

radio-stationNow that I work for a radio station I have been applying some time figuring out the feasibility of healthcare advertisements on Radio Stations.  In India the private FM radio stations are only allowed to play music and things like News, Sports, General Entertainment are not allowed. Most stations thus offer a mix of music interspersed with Jock Talk, audience bites, station sweepers, contest promos and of course advertising.    

The packaging of the stations is also slick, fun oriented and the jocks portray an on air imagery of being cool and connected to the young hip hop affluent city slickers. 

Hospitals, diseases and illnesses just do not gel with a Radio Station. This is at least what I thought, when I was on the other side of the table working for hospitals. The advertising media mix for my hospitals had plenty of Outdoors advertising (OOH in today’s parlance!), print advertising, which included both English and the vernacular (Hindi and Punjabi) and sometimes advertisements on the cable networks. I spurned radio sales guys because of my belief that the medium and the on air content of the stations was just not suitable.

Now that I am closely involved with Radio advertising I noticed advertisements of Fortis Hospitals, Moolchand Hospital and Centre for Sight (CFS). Out of these Fortis and Centre for Sight advertised on Fever 104, which is the station I work for.

Out of sheer curiosity I decided to have a closer look and chose CFS. CFS is a chain of eyecare hospitals established by Dr. Mahipal Sachdev, a well known ophthalmologist. Dr. Sachdev used to work earlier at Apollo Hospitals and than founded CFS, which has now grown to multiple units. CFS has recently introduced the bladeless lasik surgery (the Intralease machine) and their target audience include the youngsters, who want to get rid of their glasses. CFS decided to advertise on Fever 104 with radio spots designed to appeal to this audience.

A three week campaign is presently underway. The response mechanism is a short message, which the radio station forwards to CFS and their sales team than contacts the prospect to try and sell the ‘bladeless’ surgery. 

When I met Dr. Sachdev before the start of the campaign I must confess I was a little apprehensive about the whole thing. However, we felt that the Radio station can add value in connecting with the right audience. Dr. Sachdev agreed and we did the spots and put them on air.

And the results, we have so far generated almost 300 queries in almost 3 weeks.  CFS is delighted and so am I. We are now planning on taking the campaign forward to the next level with programing integrations, testimonials and the works.

Similarly Moolchand Hospital has been successfully advertising their Emergency services on the radio and Fortis has been talking about the Maternity services at the Fortis La Femme.

Thus lessons for me the Healthcare Marketer are that no medium should be ruled out. Apparently it is the service line, the target audience and the message, which should determine the choice of the medium of communication. cancer or cardiac services will not go well on a fun filled radio station but cosmetic surgery, preventive health along with maternity services, emergency services etc. can be advertised on a Radio station.

I am happy to have been disabused of my preconcieved notions about Radio stations and healthcare advertising.




4 thoughts on “Healthcare Advertising on Radio

  1. I have noticed the Lasik ads on radio as well. Each time I hear them , the following thoughts come to mind

    1. The Idea that a person who wears spectacles is somehow not good looking is average creative and is somewhat disturbing because of the use of stereotypes.

    2. 100 percent success is a strong message about Lasik. If that were so, I would be interested in knowing how many doctors have got Lasik done on themselves. Also is this data actually validated by an independent medical authority.

    Would like your thoughts….

  2. Dear Syamant,

    I myself wear glasses and see no reason why I should go for a Lasik. I am quite comfortable with the way I am. However, many young people today do believe that spectacles take something away from their looks and want to have their glasses removed. Unfortunately the ad adds to the stereotypes of ‘glasses makes one look less cool’. However from the advertisers perspective it works.

    As far as the claim of 100% success is concerned, I believe it is incorrect. No surgery is risk free.

  3. Hi,
    This is about Dr Batras’ Positive Health Clinic Pvt. Ltd., a company having chains of Super specialty Homeopathic treatment clinics. All the nuances of marketing including use of the print and electronic media, call centers and ‘Loyalty’and retention programs were in practice since many years now, and made it a successful company. There is a lot to learn from this company, and they have a successful marketing strategy.

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