Cleveland Clinic Turns to Hill, Holliday

NEW YORK Hill, Holliday, Connors, Cosmopulos here said it plans to go beyond facts and figures in its work for the Cleveland Clinic, a top-rated hospital that last week awarded its account to the agency after a three-month review.

“We’re not going to be doing default advertising with smiley pictures of patients looking okay, which is what everyone does,” said Alon Shoval, executive vice president and creative director at Hill, Holliday. “It’s a little bit insensitive. They use the same techniques as banks and insurance companies, and it’s not respectful of what patients go through.

“We want to bring realism and respect to what patients really face when they look across that chasm and say, ‘Am I going to come out the other side,’ ” Shoval said.

Past work by independent Doner in Southfield, Mich., employed the tag, “Every life deserves world-class care,” created by BBDO seven years ago. Doner’s ads utilized statistics to convey the clinic’s place among America’s top hospitals as rated by U.S. News & World Report.

“For quite a number of years they’ve been trying to give themselves a national profile and they have a little bit of a problem because they are in Cleveland,” said Shoval. Most people first think of the Mayo Clinic in Minneapolis or Johns Hopkins near Washington, D.C., he said.

Those hospitals remain the clinic’s top competitors, said Jim Blazar, chief marketing officer at the Cleveland Clinic. But Blazar is hoping Hill, Holliday’s work, coupled with a rebranding project by Landor, will garner the hospital stronger national prominence.

The Cleveland Clinic spent about $3 million on ads last year, according to Nielsen Monitor-Plus. Neither the client nor the agency would disclose the other finalists in the review.