Meaningful Marketing Like You Mean It: Northwell Navigates Gun Violence Messaging

The lip service around “meaningful branding” is as deafening in the marketing world as it is unconvincing…at least to jaded media critics like me. But even this hard-boiled critic was impressed by Northwell Health’s ambitious and risky brand effort around social health. Beyond lip service, the NY-based hospital group actually kissed one of the third rails of American culture – gun violence as a leading cause of childhood death. CMO Ramon Soto keynoted last month’s Brand Insider Summit: Pharma and Health by mapping out how the hospital network embraced the gun violence theme as a safety issue and a part of the brand’s conversation with potential patients. Along with their agency StrawberryFrog, Northwell scoped out the issue and showed it could resonate with consumers without triggering partisan tribalism. Their “it Doesn’t Kill to Ask” campaign is a master class in creative messaging as well as genuinely purposeful marketing and branding.

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