Plow Share Group Talks About Quality of Death

NEW YORK Death is a hard sell. An ad that breaks today in U.S. News and World Report‘s “Best Hospitals” issue broaches the subject of quality care for the dying on behalf of two nonprofit agencies.

Last Acts and Partnership for Caring, two organizations dedicated to improving end-of-life care in the U.S., commissioned the work from Plow Share Group, a Stamford, Conn.-based shop that works primarily with nonprofits. The full-page ad targets consumers and healthcare professionals and was paid for through a grant from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, which supports healthcare philanthropy.

“How do you sell dying?” said Bob Schultz, a Plow Share partner. “Nobody wants to talk about dying. People are in denial about dying, and yet the state of dying in America needs to be improved.”

The copy-heavy ad was fashioned after a battery of focus groups revealed people would not read an ad that had the word death in the headline, said Schultz. Instead, the headline reads, “The best hospital in the world can’t keep you alive forever.”

Two columns of information follow on the organizations, their offerings and their campaign for palliative care-care for the dying that addresses people’s minds, bodies and spirits.

“Once people knew the subject and were drawn in by the headline, they wanted to read the copy,” Schultz said. “It is such an action-oriented, resourceful ad.”