Exeter Hospital “What’s New”

Are hospitals (a) places where you now get treatment that would have seemed miraculous 20 years ago or (b) places of chaos where they’ll amputate the wrong body part and then kill you with a staph infection? For many people, the answer is (c) a bit of both. A commercial for Exeter Hospital in New Hampshire, via Boston-based Winsper, does its best to banish option (b) from a viewer’s thoughts as it shows a newborn baby being tended to in one of the facility’s new Family Center Suites. We see a woman (the new mother, we first assume) tenderly dabbing the baby with a washcloth and then holding the kid close. Ah but there’s a plot twist! A different camera angle reveals that the person washing and cuddling the baby is not the mother but a conscientious nurse. Having made the unremarkable point that “One of the most important events in your life is the birth of your child,” a voiceover now adds, “Isn’t it good to know there are others that feel the same way?” The whole manner of the spot is so calm that it could lull a newborn to sleep. The voiceover’s female voice is calm. The room, with light filtering through gauzy curtains, looks calm. Even the baby is calm. The spot is black-and-white, not visually exciting, maybe, but soothing to the eye–until part of the screen (inside a picture frame) turns full color as the mother calmly takes her baby from the calm nurse. People whose kids are a bit older than this infant might come away from the spot feeling they’d enjoy a quiet weekend getaway at this hospital, if such were available. Anyhow, the spot does an effective job of inoculating Exeter against the increasing distrust consumers feel toward hospitals.–Mark Dolliver