Now 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.