Doctor, Doctor

Truth in advertising has always been somewhat loosely defined. So it’s small wonder Kohnke Hanneken in Milwaukee thought it wouldn’t have a problem if a public relations man portrayed a doctor in a commercial for Waukesha Memorial Hospital.
Instead, the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel learned of the phony doctor, wrote a story and set off a controversy that brought the agency a letter from the Wisconsin Better Business Bureau–as well as guarded but earnest tsk-tsks from ad executives in town.
The spot shows a man purporting to be “Dr. John Weber,” who chose Waukesha when needing treatment following a heart attack. There was no Dr. Weber, though, and the story was apparently based on anecdotal evidence that some doctors who work at Waukesha are also treated there.
Agency principals Rich Kohnke and David Hanneken did not return phone calls. Other agency executives have suggested it’s a fine commercial, but probably should have included a disclaimer.
Randall Hoth, president of the Wisconsin BBB, said inquiries about the ad led the bureau to ask the shop, through its ad review program, to clarify its position.
–Trevor Jensen