The Deconstructed Brief

It’s not about us.

It’s not about us. 

Brand: UC Health

Agency: Grey San Francisco


UCHealth Chief Marketing Officer, Manny Rodriguez, told Advertising Age:

"We've gotten away from the fact that what we do is about the patient," Rodriguez says. "I don't want to be a health care marketer; I want to be a consumer marketer who is marketing to patients. When I came here, I wanted to bring that notion of consumer marketing and lifestyle marketing to a health care brand."

The challenge can’t be any more clear than that. UCHealth wanted to shift from the cold, sterile, bland, boring, self-serving category advertising to a consumer lifestyle brand.  


  • A lot of health care advertising is self-serving. It either reads like a fact sheet — cold, sterile, boring and bland — or it relies on superficial and/or uninspiring storytelling. 
  • People don’t want to know what a health system can do; they want to know what the health system can do for them. It’s not just about fixing a problem; it’s about getting back to something more meaningful — living a full and active life. 

One Thought:

It’s not about us — it’s about what we help our patients do.



      Lessons to be learned:

      • Stop talking just about yourselves. — This advice isn’t limited to health care. All agencies and advertisers alike will be better off the sooner they grasp the concept that it’s not about what they offer; it’s about what others will do about it. Need another example? Apple’s iPhone 6 “World Gallery” campaign chose not to focus on the features of its camera, but on the beauty of the pictures taken by the users — only made possible with the world’s most-popular camera. UCHealth chose to focus on the strength, resilience, determination, triumph and gratitude of its patients while they are fighting and overcoming an obstacle.  
      • A good story has mystery. — In the spot about a young girl named Peyton, the viewer may be led to believe it’s the mother that is battling cancer, not the daughter. The reveal that it’s the daughter being the patient and unexpected source of strength that makes the story so good. In the spot about Becky, the viewer wonders if the star of the spot was given up for adoption, only to find out she is thanking the mother of an organ donor for the gift she was given. The point is, every book we’ve read and every movie we’ve watched has an element of suspense to capture the mind and imagination. Storytelling in advertising should be no different. 
      • Look for parallel category inspiration. — UCHealth’s CMO Manny Rodriguez draws inspiration from the performance apparel category, citing that UCHealth has as much of a right as Under Armour to align with star athletes, given staff’s countless hours of training, therapy, nutrition guidance and treatment. A health care company acting like a performance brand? Now that’s thought-provoking and inspiring.