Medical Facility Ad Fails the “So What” Test

I’m one of the dwindling few who still reads a newspaper every morning.  The generation behind me may not know how to operate a newspaper, but for me it’s as much a part of breakfast as the cup of coffee.

Since I toil in the persuasion industry, the advertising is as important to me as the articles. So when I opened the paper on a recent Sunday, it hurt to see this:


West Hills Health and Rehabilitation spent a significant sum of money to let Portland know that it is… “deficiency-free.” For the casual reader, this raises several questions. For instance:

  • Shouldn’t “deficiency-free” be a minimum standard for this sort of operation?
  • Are we, perhaps, setting the bragging bar a little low?

Whenever you make a claim in your marketing copy, you need to imagine your prospect sitting across from you, arms folded, asking,

“So What?”

It’s possible, I suppose, that the state inspection is extremely challenging, and that “deficiency-free” is actually a tough standard to meet. Maybe the designation represents a real benefit to patients. Perhaps West Hills has some important qualities that make it an attractive choice for those in need of rehabilitation services.

If so, that information doesn’t appear anywhere in the ad. And there’s nothing in the copy that gives the consumer any reason to look into the subject any further.

It’s your job to make sure that your message is one that your target will care about — your prospect doesn’t have the time or the attention span to figure it out for himself.

This copy fails the “So What” test. How about yours?


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2 thoughts on “Medical Facility Ad Fails the “So What” Test

  1. Wow. I will bet anything this was done in house, without so much as a consultation. Even if the term is “deficiency free” in an ad you would say something like top ranked or some such. This is why businesses need communications agencies or consultants.