Changes in Health Video Advertising in the Last 10 Years

07.06.2021 Video Marketing
Eoin Dowdall
Creative Director

Healthcare advertising has undergone a huge transformation in the last decade. We have waved goodbye to fear-mongering and welcomed a more personal touch from promoting taboo topics to more sentimentality. 

People don’t just watch adverts on TV or see them in print anymore. The rise of social media has seen a higher demand for receiving information in a variety of accessible formats, including video content. These types of online promotion are shareable, garnering widespread attention and brand recognition. It’s no wonder that healthcare organizations have taken advantage of this and increased advertising on social media, especially in 2020.

In particular, video has become a favourite in healthcare content marketing strategies. As video attracts more and more consumers, it’s a no-brainer that your healthcare content strategy will hugely benefit from this. 

Below are some of the ways healthcare video marketing has changed over the last ten years, and where we foresee the future of video marketing in the healthcare industry.

1. Mobile Health Video Marketing

Mobile phones have become the crux of marketing, and healthcare is no exception. Lightning-fast internet speeds, apps, and e-consultations have completely revolutionised how we access healthcare products and services. Video content also improves patient communication and simplifies difficult topics, adding to your credibility as a healthcare organization

The NHS app, for example, was launched at the end of 2018, making it easier for the public to book appointments, order repeat prescriptions, and securely view their medical records. This online facility saves time in accessing and managing information, empowering the public to take more control of their healthcare. Therefore, this reassures users that they are receiving accurate information from a trusted source.

The Change4Life Food Scanner app, also founded by the NHS, has helped parents identify healthier products for their children and give them a better idea of their eating every day. Parents can choose healthier food for their families, as the app provides insight into the hidden fats and sugars linked to childhood obesity. Parents can therefore make more informed decisions in their children’s eating habits and improve their diet.

Strava, Headspace and Sleep Cycle have also roared into the healthcare marketing game. By using video content to engage users, users feel motivated to adopt healthier habits and track progress. These apps were particularly valuable in 2020, as people had to find online alternatives to manage their fitness and well-being. Many have found comfort in live-action videos of indoor workouts and animated video content on meditation tips. We can’t see this upward trend disappearing any time soon.

Mobile Health Video Marketing
Mobile Health Video Marketing

2. Taboo Health Video Advertising

The 2010s saw an increase in promoting awareness of health conditions public knowledge had shied away from. Seen as unthinkable and disapproving, there was little to no recognition of hidden yet very real illnesses. Today, healthcare advertising campaigns are opening up new conversations surrounding these taboo medical topics, informing the public of symptoms relating to particular diseases and encouraging them to visit their GP should they feel unsure and anxious about their health. 

For example, ad campaigns for men’s and women’s health have risen, including celebrity endorsement for these movements. Breast Cancer Care, Jo’s Cervical Cancer Trust and Bayer Health have all promoted issues specifically targeting men and women to look out for their health in a simple and light-hearted way. All of these videos featured famous TV, drama and sports personalities, making their branding more recognisable. Using household names to promote these taboo topics encourages viewers to talk about these issues without embarrassment. 

Mental health has also been at the heart of healthcare video advertising in recent years. With people understanding the importance of mental health, healthcare marketers have started motivating people to take their mental health seriously. Adverts about specific mental health issues have risen, as people have taken charge of their mental health and realised the necessity of professional help. 

Taboo Health Video Advertising
Taboo Health Video Advertising

3. Morbidity to Optimism in Health Video Marketing

Who remembers the gut-wrenching ad campaigns against smoking? 3D animation recreated the body’s internal organs, conveying the gruesome truth of the damage of our unhealthy habits. Public Health England’s Smokefree Health Harms advert from 2012 features a mother smoking out of the window whilst her baby sleeps. Their 2013 advert is accompanied by dissonant and squelching sounds, making the ad campaign both unappealing to watch and listen to, therefore portraying smoking as such. The purpose of graphic video content is simple to understand: they instigate fear. Scare tactics disgust and deter people from continuing unhealthy behaviours, by realistically depicting the long-term effects of our vices.

Towards the end of the 2010s, however, healthcare video marketing saw a transformation from scare tactics to more optimistic messaging. The World Health Organization’s Let’s Be Active For Health For All video in 2018 showed the promise of a more hopeful future in a more inclusive, global community. Presenting a variety of demographics incorporated a sense of togetherness and urgency, motivating viewers to take up exercise. Since Covid-19, healthcare adverts have also followed this trend, as scare tactics don’t deliver the same impact. The NHS Better Health Let’s Do This ad campaign shows a diverse group of people taking control of their health positively, encouraging others to take up exercise and healthier eating to kickstart their habits and boost their well-being.

Morbidity to Optimism in Health Video Marketing
Morbidity to Optimism in Health Video Marketing

4. Sentimental Health Video Advertising

Putting viewers into other people’s shoes was an increasing trend in healthcare video marketing. In 2019, The National Autistic Society’s Make It Stop ad campaign promoted a more thorough understanding of sensory overload in autistic children by showing their first-person perspectives. Through these two adverts, the viewer could experience the effects of receiving too much sensory information and see how this impacts different children in various ways. This therefore evoked compassion and gave a stronger grasp of how inhospitable the world is towards autism. A valuable insight into autism, this ad campaign was significant in raising awareness for a stigmatised health condition.

The NHS also took a more sentimental approach towards promoting their Organ Donation Pass It On ad campaign in 2019. A woman letting a heart-shaped balloon drift off to a hospital patient highlighted how organ donation can transform someone’s life. This simple yet tear-jerking message portrayed the emotional impact and high demand for organ donation. Therefore, incorporating a more personal touch can work wonders in relating to the public and reaching more viewers. 

Sentimental Health Video Advertising
Sentimental Health Video Advertising

5. Marketing Health Videos to Children

Given the rise of childhood obesity, an increase in healthcare adverts targeted towards children (and parents) comes as no surprise. Various adverts for the NHS Change4Life scheme have used colourful, animated, morph-like figures, making their branding instantly recognisable and appealing to children. As children are inundated with cartoons, it makes sense to use a video format they are familiar with captivated by. Animation achieves not only a high level of engagement but can also break down complex topics. This is particularly important for educating young minds. Teaching children early on to adopt good habits will lead to a healthy lifestyle, which is at the forefront of Change4Life’s message.

Marketing Health Videos
Marketing Health Videos

Final Thoughts

The past decade has seen a prominent shift from morbid, graphic video content to a stronger sense of togetherness. Whether it’s a step-by-step guide to a medical procedure, a hospital promo, or patient aftercare advice, video allows your patients to build trust and confidence in you when dealing with their health concerns. You can also be sure that the medical information you deliver to your patients will always strike the right balance of clarity, professionalism, and sensitivity no matter what the topic. With over 2000 videos, both animated and live-action, we can sort all of the logistics associated with your healthcare video, meaning no hassle or stress on your part. Still interested? Give us a call to get our creative partnership started.


Start A Video Project With Us Today

    Let's create your video