Does Humor Belong in Medical Advertising?

I have been lucky to work with a lot of medical clients in the past, from Berchtold to Storz to large practices like Atlantic Orthopedics and Charleston ENT to single doctor operations. Medical advertising is a different flavor of advertising because…well, it could be life or death you’re talking about. That’s why so many ads have either a clinical feel or a Hallmark card vibe. The private and important subjects bring up the question: does humor have a place? My answer is yes, if it’s handled correctly. It can actually bring levity people want and need when dealing with health-related issues. Or it can just provide a change of pace from all the more serious messages and REALLY get you noticed.

Here are some of the solutions creative teams I’ve worked with have come up with: For Charleston ENT, we used cartoon noses and ears to make the client memorable. For Berchtold, we used penguins in scrubs to boast about cooler operating room lights. When Palmetto Primary Care Physicians wanted to make a statement that they were done being puppets on a string, that was what we showed…with the little man cutting the strings himself.

Humor should never laugh AT something as serious as the topics many medical ads take on. But if we can get them laughing WITH us…well, they do say laughter is the best medicine.

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