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Apollo’s campaign makes Neurosciences simple

09-September-2011
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Apollo’s campaign makes Neurosciences simple

In its TVCs, which have been on air for more than two months, Apollo Group has highlighted its Neurosciences division. The commercials have been produced by Hyderabad-based Associated Advertising, which bagged the account in April this year. This is the first time that the agency is handling the creatives for Apollo. The campaign has focused on two categories – Neurosciences and Emergency Services.

Aditya Agarwal, Director, Associated Advertising, divulged, “The idea was to highlight each section of the Apollo Group individually, rather than the brand as a whole, since it is the era of specialised healthcare. Regarding the Apollo Institute of Neurosciences, this is the first time that they have begun advertising for this division.”

Campaign for Apollo Institute of Neurosciences
The Apollo Group set up its Neurosciences division nearly 27 years ago. On bringing focus to this division this year, Dr Rahul Khandelwal, Service Line Manager (Neurosciences), Apollo Group, said, “We decided to advertise for the first time about our Neurosciences division as it is one of our key focus areas and there is a lot of demand seen from the market for this particular branch. We have selected some divisions that we will focus on in a phased manner over the next two years. This year, we decided to highlight our Neurosciences and Emergency Services divisions.”

The brief given by Apollo was simple – promote Neurosciences to opinion leaders and doctors and the kith and kin of patients. Agarwal explained, “Neurosciences as a separate field has never been promoted in India. Since it is an evolving category, while looking up the subject, there are new references and challenges arising almost on a daily basis. Apollo has state-of-the-art technology which is constantly upgraded. So, our aim was to showcase it as the first choice to opt for.”

The execution
The campaign took off in three phases. For the initial build-up, an extensive and elaborate print campaign was carried out in periodicals to address opinion leaders and doctors. The second phase was a testimonial campaign aimed at the kith and kin of the individuals to reassure them. This campaign included TVCs simultaneously run alongside print ads. The third phase of the campaign is yet to begin. This will involve marketing the Apollo Institute of Neurosciences microsite through social media. The promotions took off in the first week of June and will run till the end of September to early October.

A total eight TVCs have been produced with five focusing on Neurosciences and three on Emergency Services. In the Neurosciences category, four TVCs – regarding strokes, epilepsy, spinal injury, and head injury are already on air. The last one, on back pain, will be aired in the last week of September. Dr Khandelwal revealed why only these five areas in Neurosciences were highlighted and said, “Most patients come to us with problems relating to these major areas. Also, we wanted to emphasise on Neurosciences as one of our core competencies.” To execute the TVCs while keeping in mind both these points, the agency decided to stick to a simple approach.

Agarwal revealed, “Trying to showcase all the areas of Neurosciences in just one ad would have made it too complex and the message lost. So, we sat down with the client and shortlisted these five critical areas. We wanted to make the subject simple, clear, and understandable to a common man since Neurosciences is a complex subject in itself. We gave it a human touch to establish a connection with the audience and achieve the simple, yet effective feel.” Citing an example, Agarwal spoke about the TVC on epilepsy, which has a girl riding a bicycle in a park with her grandfather, reminiscing about her condition and how it was overcome thanks to Apollo. “We packaged the successful treatment of epilepsy with the bond between the grandfather and his granddaughter. We also wove in other elements into the ad such as the bicycle which signified freedom from the condition,” he said. The strategy adopted was to form a bond between the consumer and the hospital and thus, build recall.

The ad has been shot by the in-house production team of Associated Advertising. It has been directed as a point-of-view film rather than a dialogue-based one. Vikram Aggarwal, Director (films), Associated Advertising, said, “In the dialogue format, the emotional impact wasn’t as strong as compared to when we showed the patient’s recovery from their loved one’s perspective.”

“There has been a significant growth in the number of enquiries and also the number of patients coming in after the campaign began. We hope to see many more people coming forward,” added Dr Khandelwal.

Emergency Services campaign
The three films shot for the Emergency Services section were rolled out on regional media in those states where Apollo has hospitals. “Emergency services are a localised affair. So, we picked regional media to promote the campaign, with TVCs backed by outdoor media,” Agarwal explained. The three films that were shot for this category were produced in the voiceover format rather than being dubbed in regional languages.

Vikram further said, “We wanted to speak to consumers in their language. Most people don’t appreciate dialogues which are dubbed rather than spoken.” As for the ads, work on the first batch of three commercials began on June 1. Since they had to be rolled out in a short period, all the work relating to locations, casting, managing production budget, and post-production work had to be completed within 10 days. Vikram elaborated, “By June 9, three films were ready and the first ad was rolled out. We worked 24x7 to complete it within such a short period. Subsequently, the next three films were produced.”

The biggest challenge was producing the ads since they had to be shot in the emergency wards. In Vikram’s words, “Much of the hospital infrastructure is shown in the ads. We had to shoot the films post midnight so as to cause minimal disturbance to the patients. We had to meticulously plan the shoots and the entire crew set up the equipment such that any emergency cases coming in could be given immediate attention.”

The positioning for this campaign was ‘In an emergency, the choice you make makes all the difference.’ Since quick choices are required to be made during an emergency, the agency wanted to bring out Apollo’s specialty – availability of specialists 24x7 to deal with every type of emergency and access to the best infrastructure and technology. Agarwal pointed out, “Our catchphrase was ‘I choose Apollo’. This campaign will run till September-end to early October. We will not be coming out with any more ads but there are plans to extend this campaign.”

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