A ‘real people’ healthcare campaign

Vanderbilt Medical Center came to Stonecastle with a perception problem. Consumers recognized the health system as the market leader in research and innovation, but they didn’t attribute much warmth to its brand. And with Vanderbilt’s message of patient-focused care and personalized medicine, the challenge was to create a brand campaign that would make these claims believable.

  • Client: Vanderbilt Medical Center
  • Agency: Stonecastle
  • Type: Healthcare, Brands
  • Deliverable: TV Campaign
  • Services: Creative Strategy, Video Production, Scriptwriting

The Project

The Project

The challenge


Having chosen Stonecastle for our expertise filming immersive short documentaries, Vanderbilt asked us to create a TV campaign around the stories of real patients and doctors in their own words – without any voiceover or scripted lines. The goal was to wrap warmth and authenticity around Vanderbilt’s established reputation of medical excellence. We produced this anthem, which borrowed elements from other spots, to kick-off the campaign.

father kisses little daughter
old man smiles into camera
mother and son read book in tent with flashlights in his bedroom
doctor conducting ekg test on young patient

Finding the stories


The success of this campaign hinged on the performances of real people, so it was critically important to cast the right ones. Working directly with Vanderbilt’s marketing team, Stonecastle guided the story development process by visiting and pre-interviewing candidates to find the rich life details that gave us a solid creative direction for each spot.

Making it personal


One of our favorite commercials features Dr. Esther Kim, a Vanderbilt physician who surprised us with her on-camera performance. In our pre-interviews, we learned all about her journey with a patient named Jessica who had suffered multiple heart attacks. But as the cameras rolled, Dr. Kim revealed a tenderness every patient looks for in a doctor.


Maximizing the content


In order to provide Vanderbilt with as many pieces of valuable video content as possible, we expanded the commercials into a series of documentary shorts. Rather than being an after-thought, we built additional scenes into our production plan with the intent of placing them on a campaign landing page “for the rest of the story.” This one features a transplant cardiologist explaining how Vanderbilt developed a method for transplanting hearts from opioid victims.

The Campaign

The two-year campaign, called “Defining Personalized Care,” included broadcast TV commercials, web videos, and social media content.

Client Feedback

Want to learn more about how we created this project? Click here to watch our Client Spotlight with Vanderbilt’s Chief Marketing Officer, Jill Austin.

"The 'Stonecastle difference' is the ability to capture the essence of the person in a way that so clearly comes through that others are just drawn in to their story. It’s mesmerizing. That’s a talent. And it’s unique."

Jill Austin, Vanderbilt Medical Center
Jill Austin, Vanderbilt Medical Center