Every December, our team makes a master list of the year’s best hospital commercials. We feature ads that made us laugh or brought the tears or that we’re still thinking about, months later.
We’re happy to report it’s been another good year for hospital marketing, with the top campaigns incorporating:
- Emotional storytelling
- Powerful patient spotlights
- Tasteful humor
- Authority-building elements
Let’s get into them!
10 Best Hospital Ads of 2023
OrthoCarolina’s Ad: Patient-Friendly Humor
It’s hard to get humor right in hospital marketing. Illness and injury aren’t inherently funny, so jokes may offend (or worse — isolate) your target audience.
OrthoCarolina balances humor and empathy in this commercial that won a 2023 Wallie Award for Best Television Ad. (OC actually won two awards for ads in this category — view the other winner.) What better way to kick off our list of this year’s best hospital commercials?
Mayo Clinic’s Ad: Confident and Credible
Mayo Clinic* is a confident brand, and rightfully so. Its website boasts more top rankings than any other healthcare organization, according to U.S. News & World Report.
This campaign delivers the perfect blend of authority and hope about the future of healthcare.
Dayton Children’s Ad: Compassionate Care
A child with an illness is one of parents’ worst nightmares. In this ad, Dayton Children’s Hospital emphasizes the little things — the small touches that help children and parents feel comforted, cared for and supported.
This commercial gives viewers the warm & fuzzies, showing Dayton Children’s commitment to care that goes above and beyond.
Nemours Children’s Ad: Store Window Stories
With a school bus in view and peppy back-to-school music (it was released in August), you might not immediately notice the ad is for a hospital. It’s timely, relevant and catches your attention.
But what’s most impactful is the clip’s creative storytelling. Nemours* hints about the child’s future while allowing viewers to fill in the rest. See what we mean below.
ThedaCare’s Ad: Leading With Hope
Hope is potent, and ThedaCare captures this powerful emotion in its commercial. Watch as people of all ages and backgrounds face and overcome challenges that viewers will find very relatable.
NewYork-Presbyterian’s Ad: Hospital Commercial or Movie Trailer?
The music and cinematography in this ad make you forget you’re watching a healthcare commercial, but these elements don’t overshadow its message.
Immediately, you’re pulled into a patient story that starts during his best day (his wedding) and flashes back to his worst moment (having a life-threatening stroke). The imagery, music and storytelling make this a memorable hospital commercial.
Ascension’s Ad: The Power of Peyton Manning
Travis Kelce may be making headlines with the “two things at once” Pfizer ad (and for other reasons), but Peyton Manning is the original NFL-star-turned-commercial-legend. See how Ascension tapped into the power of celebrities with this adorable ad.
SickKids Foundation Ad: Rap Music Parody
When your healthcare ad sparks so much love in the comments, it’s clear you’ve made a top hospital commercial. SickKids garners donations with innovative branding that stands out. This commercial reflects their unique approach.
Hospital for Special Surgery Ad: Transformative Patient Story
A patient, Danny Delisi, opens a curiosity loop with a painful anecdote: “People would ask me, was I in an accident? Was I born that way?” He immediately draws you into his captivating story.
This HSS commercial is a masterclass in storytelling. (Are you seeing a theme?)
Shriners Hospital Ad: Positive and Punchy
Children with physical disabilities (and their parents) are used to hearing from doctors what they can’t do. This Shriners ad spotlights what one of their patients can do with the help of a prosthetic. A rhyming script makes it even more punchy and memorable.
That’s a wrap on 2023’s best hospital commercials! But our list of watch-worthy campaigns doesn’t end here. Scroll through the best ads of 2022, 2021 and 2020 below and borrow some inspiration from the past.
This year’s review included commercials that are innovative, entertaining and tug at our heartstrings. But that’s not all. They echoed many of healthcare’s hottest trends. The commercials provided an introspective look at who we are as an industry and got us excited for what was yet to come in 2023 and beyond.
Trend 1: Community Focus
When people are sick or injured, they often turn to providers in their community. It comforts patients and their families when they don’t have to travel far to see a doctor. What’s on-trend in 2022 is using this as a marketing strategy.
Clinicians in the tight-knit community that Kaweah Health serves likely frequent the same shops, ball games and gathering places as their patients. Living in the same towns and experiencing life together (even though they might not know each other) strengthens the organization’s dedication to the people they serve.
Community Health Network MD Anderson Cancer Center
This commercial shows how Community Health Network looks out for its patients by bringing world-class cancer care to Indiana. These efforts are in keeping with the notion that with community comes support, so patients don’t have to feel alone when they are sick.
Trend 2: Diversity in Healthcare
Diversity, equity and inclusion was a big healthcare industry trend in 2022 and has been for a few years. Savvy hospitals are drawing on the diversity of their existing teams to help everyone feel welcome, whether they need care, are visiting a loved one or are seeking employment.
This commercial showcases Sutter Health clinicians, employees and patients. The two-minute montage highlights various ages, races, cultures and abilities, driving home the point that a lot of small details go into the excellent care they provide.
Trend 3: Healthcare Consumerism
Consumerism is changing many aspects of health delivery, especially access. Hospitals are using innovative methods to connect patients with care at times and locations that meet their preferences.
Covenant Health shows how providing care on patients’ terms can save lives. A man with ongoing chest pain decided to get it checked out only when he learned that cardiologists were available in nearby clinics.
MedStar Health understands that access is as essential to its patients as the high-quality, compassionate care the organization is known for. This commercial demonstrates their flexible offerings, including same-day appointments, weekend urgent care clinics and virtual visits.
Trend 4: Innovation
Innovation is an evergreen healthcare industry trend. But sharing advances in the field with consumers in a relatable way can be challenging. Top hospital commercials in this category highlight patient benefits and use plain language to explain what’s new and exciting at their organization.
Mass General Brigham
This Mass General Brigham commercial leaves no doubt that patients receive outstanding care. It’s short and sweet while highlighting benefits that patients can appreciate, like receiving treatments from doctors conducting transformative research.
Henry Ford Health*
Henry Ford Health provides examples of amazing care and outcomes through the eyes of its clinical team, staff and patients. They show how innovation is helping patients with severe conditions beat the odds and get back to their everyday lives.
Trend 5: Pediatric Patient Empowerment
Pediatric content often focuses on the family caregiver’s point of view. But school-aged children are often old enough to understand their treatment plan and what they want to get out of it. These commercials put pediatric patients in the driver’s seat and show how doctors tailor care to their needs and goals.
Doctors at New York-Presbyterian weren’t going to let scoliosis hold a girl back from playing softball. The field was where she was meant to be. After spinal surgery, she is living her dream and playing at the college level.
Ann and Robert H. Lurie Children’s Hospital of Chicago*
A pediatric heart specialist and former gymnast from Lurie Children’s walks on her hands to get her patient to take medications. Need we say more?
We’ve been selecting the best hospital commercials for years. Many aspects of the healthcare industry have changed over time. But the elements of a great hospital commercial remain the same. We want commercials that move us, inspire us and give us hope for humanity.
The hospital ads on this 2021 list do just that.
Hackensack Meridian Health System*
We say the words “healthcare technology changes lives” all the time. But in this ad from Hackensack Meridian Health, you see it happening. A patient has severe tremors. After undergoing an innovative, incisionless procedure, he can drink a cup of water without shaking. And as he tearfully embraces his loved one, you see how grateful they are for this life-changing treatment.
This commercial by Penn Medicine focuses on how the hospital is moving medicine and healthcare forward. But there are no drab images of beakers in a lab or radiology slides. Instead, beautiful imagery and symbolism, with just the right touch of swelling music in the background, create a powerful ad. An orchestra conductor in motion illustrates the technology of bilateral hand transplants. Glowing fireflies demonstrate how injecting fluorescent dye helps find hidden tumor cells. The commercial makes you excited and hopeful about the future of medicine — and glad that Penn Medicine is helping us get there.
Valley Children’s Hospital
You won’t be able to resist Sophia. She narrates the thank you letter she’s writing to Valley Children’s Hospital, where the NICU staff cared for her when she was born prematurely. She describes the experience through the eyes of a child. (Her incubator is her “special fort.”) While she obviously doesn’t remember being in the NICU, she does know that whatever the staff did, they “made my mommy happy.”
Yale New Haven Health
This commercial from Smilow Cancer Hospital at Yale New Haven Health shows what it means to have confidence in your care team. Hours before a consultation with her cancer care team, a mother can enjoy lunch with her son. She’s able to “laugh at the little things” because she knows Smilow has the big things handled.
Wesley Medical Center
Wesley Medical Center‘s commercial focuses on something that’s become even more essential over the past years: moments of kindness. A stranger lends someone an umbrella. A nurse Facetimes a patient’s family. One great “gotcha” moment in the commercial: It seems a staff member is using a shunt to drain fluid, but she’s actually putting candles on a birthday cake. That moment illustrates the essence of the ad: So much of a patient’s hospital experience depends on the kindness of the staff. A hospital staff that gets a patient a birthday cake seems like a special place.
Johns Hopkins Medicine*
It’s probably no surprise that Johns Hopkins, one of the world leaders in clinical trials and research, highlights those aspects in their ad. They mention the blood test they developed that screens for 8 different types of cancer and new treatments that reduce damage after a heart attack. These advances help move medicine forward for everyone.
OK, we admit it: We’re suckers for a good bait-and-switch. And this commercial from UCHealth does not disappoint. Watch mountain biker Brian Malek, a real UCHealth patient, ride his mountain bike downhill, making dizzying turns. A voice-over explains the details of the “most extraordinary technology in mountain biking” that enables him to be such a great rider. Spoiler alert: It’s NOT his bike. (If you just have to know: It’s his spine, which he had replaced by the team at UCHealth after a fracture. And because UCHealth knows you’re going to want to read more about Brian, they linked to his story from their homepage.)
The Hospital for Sick Children
The Hospital for Sick Children knows the incredible strength and power within children. The ad shows kids overtaking the darkness of childhood illness — literally. It’s moving and powerful.
Creating a compelling hospital commercial is a true art. When it’s time for our yearly top hospital commercials list, we look for ads that have strong storytelling. And, as always, we avoided those commercials that used heavy-handed medical language and imagery. Healthcare should be about health—not just care. Institutions that punctuate that point win us over every year.
In 2020, we also paid special attention to how healthcare organizations welcomed patients back to their hospitals and reassured them of their safety in the middle of a pandemic.
A More-Than-Honorable Mention: A coalition of 100 hospitals
100 hospitals, including Cleveland Clinic, UCLA Health and New York-Presbyterian, teamed up to create the Every Mask Up initiative urging Americans to wear face masks. The Every Mask Up ad is powerful and effective because it comes from our pandemic heroes — healthcare workers. And when multiple esteemed healthcare organizations unite to relay one message, it makes an impact.
Henry Ford Health System*
Henry Ford Health System understands our challenges and struggles. They acknowledge that the mask-wearing, physical-distancing, virtual-everything existence we’ve been living isn’t easy. But, they assert, this “tough love” will keep us and others safe until we get to the other side of the pandemic.
This ad from AdventHealth focuses on a simple fact: No matter how challenging times get, we continue to go on. We wake up, take care of ourselves, take care of others. And just like the body parts work together to make a person whole, each person works together to make our world whole. The commercial fits perfectly with the healthcare organization’s tagline, “A leader in whole-person care.”
Intermountain Primary Children’s Hospital
Is there anything sweeter than a child’s hard-earned success? This commercial from Intermountain Primary Children’s Hospital shows how kids triumph after near-defeat. It’s inspiring and will leave a lasting impression on parents.
Roper St. Francis Healthcare
This ad isn’t about convincing you to choose them for care. The staff at Roper St. Francis Healthcare thanks you in this commercial. They’re grateful for the support and appreciation people have shown them throughout the pandemic. And they are eager to get back to (safely) providing care for the community.
*Indicates Aha Media’s past or current clients.
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