'We're in this until we win this': How MaineHealth quickly changed marketing campaigns to coincide with the pandemic

When the COVID-19 pandemic became widespread across the U.S. in March, MaineHealth had to quickly rethink its marketing strategy ahead of its new campaign launch then scheduled for April, according to the Portland Press Herald

Officials at the Portland, Maine-based health system realized they could not use any of the marketing content they prepared, which consisted of images of physicians and nurses in close proximity to cancer patients, people hugging and no one wearing masks.

"We couldn’t use any of it," Nancy Murray, associate vice president of marketing, brand and creative services at MaineHealth, told the Press Herald. "We took a look at it and said it's not reflective of the time, but it's also not reflective of what we wanted to say."

Ms. Murray and her team decided to scrap the campaign and focus on the pandemic. The health system tapped advertising agency Words from the Woods to launch a new campaign that showcased guidelines from the Maine Center for Disease Control and Prevention while also letting people know what they could do to help.

MaineHealth has since launched six separate campaign initiatives that coincide with pandemic guidance; some messages focused on whether and when to wear a facemask and directives about the importance of hand washing and social distancing. One image featured in the ad campaign shows a recovered COVID-19 patient being applauded by nurses as he is wheeled down a hallway.

The campaigns are ongoing and emphasize the use of face coverings, with the tag line highlighting togetherness: "We're in this until we win this." The campaign has run online, in social media, on TV, in newspapers and in magazines.

Ms. Murray said the campaign has generated positive reactions as well as increases in awareness and favorability.

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