MD Imaging’s ‘Defining What’s Next’ campaign was a yearlong project that involved tagline, headlines for print ads, copy for print ads, and scripts for :30 and :60 spots on tv and radio. I got to work with the always super pro graphic designer Matt Briner, who managed the project (and provided some much-needed buffer between we creatives and some overreaching medical types), and the Viking teddy bear filmmaker himself, Tyler Faires. The client, an outpatient diagnostic radiology facility, is the best around. Their technology is state of the art and their people are true pros. We needed a way to communicate that while also making it about the patient.

Part of the challenge with the tagline and throughout the campaign was that so much surrounding radiology is scary uncertainty: is the mass malignant? what’s the deal with these dizzy spells? are my CT numbers up or down? Compounding the challenge, radiology isn’t necessarily treatment, so we couldn’t take an angle of fixing all the problems, just finding and diagnosing them. I came up with ‘Defining What’s Next’ as a way to bring some certainty into it and reduce the scary factor, while also speaking to MD Imaging’s position at the forefront of their field. It made the marketing director laugh when I pitched it because, unbeknownst to me, their competitor had been copying their ads the last few years, so MD Imaging would also be ‘defining what’s next’ when it came to all kinds of radiology ads in the region.

There were 6 modalities they wanted to advertise, and the concept was to tell a patient’s story to go with each modality. There were two actual patient stories they wanted to include, and because of the sheer volume of patients they see every day, I was told anything else I came up with (within reason) would be able to honestly represent the company. I researched PET scans, CT scans, mammography, varicose veins, and more until I was quite certain I had early onset Alzheimer’s, breast AND lung cancer, venous reflux, and a broken wrist: I’m very suggestible. I enjoyed creating characters and figuring out how they’d find themselves in a radiologist’s office, though blending the human element with the technical element was a challenge. Also tricky: walking the line between “Well, Grandma has a brain tumor.” and “sunshine and happy hearts make you love us and choose us!” And then there were the :30 scripts. Trimming a story- introduce character, introduce conflict, solve conflict- and an ad- “state of the art technology and more physicians choose us” bla bla bla- into :30 while including enormous terms like “vascular and interventional radiology” was, to say the least, difficult. Sidebar: the VO talent that Tyler used should win whatever the Academy Award equivalent is for Voice Over. That poor woman deftly crammed so much medical terminology into :30 that I owe her a lifetime’s supply of Throat Coat. 

I learned a lot from this campaign, and not just about brain scans. It was a great exercise in balancing print and script writing and provided valuable experience in working as a team, as well as some lessons about killing your darlings.     …but maybe they could have lived with early detection? Radiology joke FTW!