Akron Children’s Hospital “Nick”

“I compare chemo to ’80s music. It’s nasty.” So says a 15-year-old named Nick in this spot for Akron Children’s Hospital (by Marcus Thomas of Cleveland), and he’s earned his opinion. Hospitals often use advertising to tell us how patient-centered they are. That’s better than letting us think the hospital regards patients as a regrettable inconvenience (which we may suspect is the prevailing attitude), but it’s a too-small step in the right direction. The thing is, who wants to think of himself as a patient? The affable Nick is presented here as a person who happens to be a cancer patient, and this helps us feel the hospital treats its clientele accordingly. He tell us of his liking for jazz, ska and swing and his detestation of the music of the ’80s, which his parents inflict on him. Beset by a cancer that hits just 400 people a year, he’s kept a healthy sense of humor. The allusion to the nastiness of chemo (which, we can see, has left him bald for now) keeps the spot from seeming at all Pollyannaish, even as its underlying tone is hopeful. Since we wish Nick a good outcome, we’re in the position of hoping Akron Children’s is a good hospital that will serve him well. And, since people tend to feel that what they hope is true actually is true, this means we’re inclined to believe Akron Children’s is indeed a good hospital. Anyhow, this is certainly a good commercial.–Mark Dolliver